MANILA – Veteran newsman Joel Palacios and four others met their violent death when a despondent knife-wielding man, who allegedly had a quarrel with his girlfriend, ran amuck inside a condominium in Pasay City Tuesday night, police said.
Joel Palacios, 70, former news reporter of Reuters, Associated Press and various leading national newspapers in Metro Manila, former desk editor of Manila Standard, had just come out from his condo unit at the 16th floor of Central Park Condominium to jog when he was spotted by Robert Garan, armed with a knife and was seething with anger.
Before knowing what was happening, Garan stabbed Palacios, who fell to his knees begging for his life. He shouted for help.
Delpris Elorde, Palacios’ common-law wife, heard the scream.
“I rushed outside our condo unit to help him,” Elorde said in an interview with this writer Wednesday.
“I saw a helpless Joel down on the floor. When he saw me he told me to go back inside our condo unit. But I ignored his warning. Run to save your life. I’m dying, so be it!” Elorde said, sobbing.
“But I was determined to help Joel when the knife-wielder thrust his knife towards me. I used my hands to parry his stabbing spree. I sustained five wounds on my left arm and one on my right palm. Still, I held my ground,” she said.
“Then he stabbed twice, hitting my hips. Despite the wounds, I managed to run to the exit door then I fell down the stairs. Luckily he did not pursue his attack on me,” Elorde added.
“When I turned my head, I saw him going up to the 17th floor where the knife-wielder stabbed to death a 12-year old girl who was walking in the hallway,” she added.
Elorde said her sister Resmy arrived and brought her to the hospital.
“Joel was on his way to jog along the hallway of the condominium as he used to do every afternoon but on early Tuesday evening, death came like a thief in the night,” she said.
Elorde also said that during the incident, Abegail, their three-year old daughter, arrived at the scene unmindful of what was happening. Fortunately, Elorde’s sister hurriedly whisked the child before the knife-wielder saw them.
The Pasay City police said that aside from Palacios, the suspect also stabbed to death four people, and wounded four others.
Before the bloody incident, Garan had a quarrel with his girlfriend, Emelyn Sagun inside their condo unit.
Out of anger, the suspect stabbed Sagun before he went amuck, stabbing people along the hallway.
Garan was later shot dead by responding policemen when he resisted arrest at the 22nd floor of Central Park Condominium on D. Jorge Street, Barangay 132 around 11 p.m., five hours after the suspect ran amuck, according to Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office.
Palacios will be remembered by his peers as a media icon in his own right.
As a close friend in the media industry, Joel’s passion for news writing is at par with the best.
Joel was a news writer for Reuters and Associated Press before he was named as chief of public affairs of the Social Security System (SSS) over two decades until he retired five years ago.
During his heyday in mainstream media, Joel was always on the go looking for news.
After his retirement, Joel returned to the mainstream media and joined Manila Standard.
Last year, he called up this writer to say he was going to Cambodia to work as a writer.
However, he returned to the Philippines early this year and decided to spend his retirement writing a book.
Palacios wrote six chapters of his new book when he met his untimely death last Tuesday.
His peers will long remember Joel as a good friend with a humble heart.
Joel’s remains are at Arlington Funeral Home along Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. Burial will be announced later.