Suspect in US diver’s killing urged to yieldBy Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A group of homeowners at the exclusive Hamilton Heights subdivision in Las Piñas City, where an American diver and businessman was killed on Thursday night, has appealed to the suspect, security guard Ericson Mendoza Blacquio, to give himself up to authorities.
“We texted him and promised to help him as long as he would face the charges in court. We don’t want to be misunderstood. We condemn what he did but we are convincing him to turn himself in,” Arlene Marie Rodriquez-San Juan, the group’s representative, told the Inquirer Sunday.
The killing of Matthew Caldwell, 59, a technical diver who helped search for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo when his plane fell into the sea off Masbate province last year, shocked residents of Hamilton Heights, an upper middle class subdivision at Barangay (village) Talon V in Las Piñas City.
“We know the suspect as a quiet, kind and patient man. But what he did to an unarmed man was completely wrong,” San Juan said.
An argument between Blacquio and Caldwell over a subdivision policy turned sour when Blacquio lost his temper and shot dead the American national, police probers said.
The disagreement stemmed from an order given by officers of the homeowners’ association that residents who had not paid their monthly contributions would have to lift the boom at the gate of the subdivision themselves, instead of the security guard on duty.
The homeowners of Hamilton Heights have a pending application with the House and Land Use Regulatory Board to form an association that will manage the subdivision.
In the meantime, instead of association dues, a monthly contribution of P500 per household is being charged for expenses such as security services and power supply.