MANILA, Philippines - Almost a year after his death, the puzzle that is Ramgen Revilla's murder is yet to be completed. The case, nevertheless, took a step forward after actress Janelle Manahan, his girlfriend for five years, took the witness stand for the first time on Oct. 23, and emotionally recalled the events that almost took her own life and from which she lost her sweetheart.
With various angles and knotty stories surrounding the 23-year-old actor's death-including the purported involvement of some members of his family, along with other companions-this case could top all local soap opera stories combined.
As All Soul's Day draws near, let's look back at some of the most horrid murder stories related to celebrities that remain as haunting now as when they first rocked the headlines.
Case 1: Nida Blanca
Anyone who knows how this respected screen veteran was killed would probably say it was too brutal for a human being to suffer. She was found lifeless inside her car at a parking basement in Greenhills, San Juan, on Nov. 7, 2001, soaked in her own blood. Reports say she was battered and stabbed to death. A certain Phillip Medel owned up to the crime, but accused American singer-actor Rod Strunk-Blanca's husband-as the mastermind.
Strunk, who flew to the US in 2002 to take care of his ailing mother, was arrested in California in 2003 with the federal police acting on an extradition request from the Philippines. He, however, was released after Medel retracted his earlier statement, alleging that the police tortured him to make such claim.
On July 11, 2007, Strunk purportedly took his own life by jumping from a balcony in Tracy, California. And by some stunning coincidence, his body was found in a parking lot. Three years later, Medel died of pneumonia inside the Pasig City Jail.
Case 2: Trinidad "Trina" Etong, Ted Failon's wife
The family life of veteran broadcaster Ted Failon (Mario Teodoro Failon Etong in real life) was kept out of the spotlight until April 15, 2009, when his better half claimed her own life by shooting herself in the head-an act which the National Bureau of Investigation would later affirm.
Failon told late-night newscast "Bandila" three years ago that his wife was beset with some financial setbacks, which the latter supposedly intimated in her apology note for her husband of 25 years. After finding her "lying in a pool of blood" in their bathroom on a Wednesday morning, Failon took Etong to the hospital, where she passed away April 16.
Failon maintained at onset that Etong committed suicide. However, the broadcast journalist, his sister-in-law, and his house helpers were arrested for alleged obstruction of justice grounded on purported tampering of the crime scene. They were later on cleared of the charge.
Case 3: Ruby Rose Barrameda, sister of former beauty queen-actress Rochelle Barrameda
The morbid murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda is as unthinkable as it is appalling. After a two-year disappearance, her body was found on June 10, 2009 at the Navotas Fish Port-inside a cement-filled steel drum. Charged for her murder were her estranged husband, Manuel Jimenez III, his father Manuel Jimenez Jr., uncle Lope Jimenez, as well as Lennard "Spyke" Descalso, Robert "Obet" Ponce, Eric Fernandez, and Manuel Montero-who became the whistle blower that led authorities to Barrameda's remains.
A former employee of the Jimenezes, Montero said he was among those who kidnapped and killed Barrameda in a Jimenez-owned warehouse in Malabon back in 2007.
The Jimenezes have vehemently denied the accusations. Nevertheless, Barrameda's family keeps the faith that the seemingly elusive justice will eventually prevail.
Before she disappeared, Barrameda was fighting for the custody of her two daughters.