By DIANN IVY CALUCIN
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) confirmed on Sunday, Nov. 20, the arrest of a couple for murder and direct assault after they allegedly beat their eight-year-old nephew to death last Nov. 8.
Police identified the suspects as Rodney Lucas Manaligod, 30, a transgender, and her live-in partner, Hassan Capuchino Balauag, 30, both residents of Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City.
According to the police report, Manaligod repeatedly slapped the boy after he allegedly ate their breakfast, leaving nothing for them on Nov. 8.
Balauag, who came home at around 5:30 p.m. on the same day, also hurt the victim.
Police said Balauag punched, slapped, and kicked the victim in different parts of his body.
He also slammed the victim's head against a wall which caused the boy to fall to the ground, unconscious, and bleeding.
The couple rushed the boy to Far Eastern University Hospital and told the doctors that the boy's injuries were due to a self-accident.
The victim was in a comatose state for five days before he was declared dead on Nov. 14, at V. Luna Medical Center.
The Quezon City Women and Children's Protection Desk (WCPD), Social Services Development Department (SSDD), and QCPD Holy Spirit Station PS 14 investigators conducted a follow-up operation on the death of the minor.
Based on the initial investigation, the victim and his two sisters, aged 7 and 10, started to suffer maltreatment from the suspects after their mother left to work in Saudi Arabia in April 2021.
Police said the couple began to hide after knowing the death of the victim which prompted them to conduct a manhunt operation.
The PS 14 received a report from a concerned citizen at 1:50 a.m. on Nov. 17, regarding the whereabouts of the suspects.
At about 2:20 a.m. on the same date, the responding police officers caught both suspects packing their belongings and preparing to flee.
The QCPD said Balauag attempted to stab one of the arresting police officers.
It added that based on their investigation, Balauag also allegedly raped the victim's 10-year-old sister.
Murder and direct assault charges were filed against the suspects, police said.
A rape case will also be filed against Balauag once the allegation against him is proven by the results of the investigation and medical examinations, it added.