When two husbands meet
“It was Eddie (as Cruzaldo is called by relatives and friends) who requested the meeting,” one of La Puebla’s companions said after a brief press conference held immediately after the court proceedings. Subordinate Court Judge Carolyn Wee ordered a postponement until October 14. Guen will have to go through psychiatric evaluation.
The two came to court in separate cars, were seated apart, and barely had any eye contact during the proceedings that lasted barely 10 minutes. They also left the courthouse separately.
But when they faced the Filipino reporters at the Philippine Embassy later that morning, La Puebla and Aguilar, both dressed in white, were seated side by side. Both politely refused to answer questions and instead requested Philippine ambassador to Singapore Belen Anota to speak on their behalf.
Aside from the support extended by the Philippine government, the two families also have counsellors and religious support groups, Anota said as she pleaded members of the media to be more sensitive to the emotional turmoil the two husbands and their relatives are currently going through.
Later that evening, La Puebla and Aguilar along with Jane’s aunt, Sally Parangan, were treated by two staffmembers of the Philippine Embassy to a trip to the Midnight Safari, one of Singapore’s leading tourist destinations. Jane’s mother, Paulina, did not attended the court proceedings or joined the press conference or the night out.
The following day, September 24, a tearful memorial service for Jane, which Edwin also attended, was held. About 90,000 Filipinos work in Singapore, mostly as domestic helpers. Now in a wooden coffin, Jane’s body was retrieved after the completion of an autopsy that was observed by a representative from the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Eddie La Puebla arrived in the Philippines at about 9pm Sunday together with the remains of Jane. Edwin Aguilar took the earlier Singapore Airlines flight which arrived in Manila 5pm.
But the case is expected to take some time to resolve. The court gave an extension upon the request of police authorities to give them more time to evaluate the results of their investigation and available evidences.
The counsel for the defense, Shashi Nathan, on the other hand, also requested the court for an independent psychiatric evaluation of Aguilar and for her husband, Edwin, to see her before returning toManila.
Aguilar, wearing a white t-shirt, appeared only for a few minutes and was immediately whisked back to a special room. With the postponement, Aguilar would be brought back to the Changi Women’s Prison, where she would remain until her case will have been resolved.
Nathan said the results of the psychiatric test would be very important as it could have a bearing on the outcome of the case. Just like in the Philippines, Aguilar’s case, which is a capital offense is unbailable. But under Singapore law, insanity or having an unstable mind is not a ground for acquittal but could help lighten the penalty.
The defense team is focusing on the chronology and sequence of events before and after the murder, Nathan said. After meeting with Guen for about four hours, Nathan said he needed more information to fill in a lot of gaps.
“I need to get a bigger picture of what happened,” Nathan said as he evaded touchy questions such as the possible love triangle earlier reported. Aguilar, a mother of two, hails from Baguio City,while La Puebla, who is also working as a maid, is from Nueva Ecija.
La Puebla was allegedly murdered by Aguilar for still unknown reasons. La Puebla's dismembered bodies were found in different areas in Singapore. If found guilty, Aguilar will be meted out the penalty of death by hanging.
The grisly murder case was reminiscent of the 1995 Flor Contemplacion's story, who was hanged at Singapore's Changi Prison for the death of compatriot Delia Maga and her 4-year-old Singaporean ward.
(Note: The author was in Singapore to attend the court proceedings last Friday, September 23.)