Lone survivor in Talisay tragedy visits home

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

CEBU CITY (Updated) -- For the first time since the tragedy last Sunday, the lone survivor of the Ponce family massacre visited their house at Palm View Village in Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City.

Two bolos were found under the double-deck bed of the slain daughters when the house was being cleaned.

The 13-year-old lone survivor arrived home Thursday in Talisay City, Cebu to check the place where her parents and three siblings were slain. She did not cry as she arrived to feed her three pet dogs "Jamal", "Happy", and "Browny". (Alex Badayos)

Embrelaince Ponce, 13, is used to being greeted by her family each time she gets home. But on Thursday morning, only their three dogs welcomed her.


Wearing a hooded jacket, Embrelaince appeared calm throughout her stay in their house, but she did not go inside where barangay workers were clearing the crime scene.

She kept herself busy by feeding their dogs Jamal, Happy and Brown with bread.

Her mother Melinda, 53, sisters Elaine Grace, 26, and Heather Joy, 24, and her brother Emlin Bridge, 18, were shot to death inside their house by their father Emmanuel, 55.

Emmanuel also shot their helper Anastacia Deriega, 34. He then killed himself.

Upon the request of the relatives, Talisay City policemen, barangay and the Talisay City Health Office workers cleaned the Ponces’s bungalow Thursday morning.

Bloodstains were scrubbed off the floor, and the breakfast that the family had before the shooting last Sunday early morning was cleared from the dining table.

Two bolos and another slug from a .45 pistol were also recovered under the double-deck bed of Elaine Grace and Heather Joy.

Talisay City Police Station Chief Eddie Recamara theorized that the bolos were used as tools for self-defense, “considering the history of the family that they allegedly used to be threatened by Emmanuel.”

Local policemen cleaned and sanitized the house of the Ponce family with the help of barangay officials and city health workers. (Alex Badayos)

In earlier interviews, the family’s relatives and friends said the environment in the Ponce household was violent.

The Ponce children were reportedly beaten up by Emmanuel and on several occasions, they were also threatened with a knife.

The relatives of the Ponce family requested for help in cleaning the house only last Wednesday since they were busy with the burial arrangements and in assisting Embrelaince cope with her loss.

At the wake at the St. Peter Chapels on Thursday, the relatives changed the burial plans for the family after Emmanuel’s relatives asked that he be laid to rest in Cebu.

The original arrangement was for the victims, including Emmanuel, to be buried together in Sorsogon City, Bicol, Melinda’s hometown.

They are supposed to be transported to Sorsogon on Saturday.

But upon the request of his family, Emmanuel’s remains will be brought to Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City today, Friday.

Although Embrelaince earlier said that she wanted her family to stay together even in death, a relative said that she had no choice but to agree to the request of the relatives of her father.

As to their house in Talisay, Embrelaince said she doesn’t want to sell it.

“This will be her only remembrance of her parents,” Paul, a relative, said.

A mass will be held in the Ponce family’s house at 10 a.m. Friday in memory of the victims.

Loida Maquiling, a social worker of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Visayas, said Embrelaince should be closely monitored in the coming days.

“She must avoid anything that could make her emotional,” the social worker said.

Because of the gruesome tragedy, an inter-agency movement has been organized to help prevent a similar tragedy.

The DSWD in Talisay City, in coordination with the police and the City Government, will hold a series of information drive on domestic violence.

“This a lesson learned for all of us. We don’t want these things to happen again so as early as now, it’s better to do something to prevent a similar incident,” police chief Recamara said.

Also on Thursday, the body of Deniega, the house helper, was transferred from the St. Peter Chapels to Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City.

Anastacia’s mother Pilar, 71, arrived from Negros Occidental Thursday to attend her burial.

Pilar grieved inside the St. Peter Memorial Homes at the sight of her daughter’s coffin.

“They have not seen each other for the long time and now, this is what she sees,” said Talino Segara, Anastacia’s brother. (DSM/Sun.Star Cebu)

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