The woman at the window

PEOPLE, who have been living in one of the subdivisions in Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City, since 2008, still remember what happened to two of their neighbors on July 24 that year.

Eva Mae Peligro, 24, and her 22-year-old cousin, Gwendolyn Balasta, were strangled inside the house owned by Peligro’s fiancé who lived in the United States.

They died in the hands of Peligro’s future brother-in-law, Richard Gudelosao, and his accomplice, Joseph Roy Cellar, also known as Jojo delos Reyes.

Their murders stemmed from the bitter relationship between Peligro and Gudelosao, who couldn’t accept that his brother always took Peligro’s side.

The two men chopped up the bodies and placed these inside black garbage bags.

Using Gudelosao’s taxi, the two men drove all the way to Toledo City and the City of Naga and dumped a total of 13 bags in different areas of the Manipis Road.

Police recovered a chopped up torso in Sitio Campo 5 in Barangay Manipis, Talisay City. Some body parts were also found in Campo 8 in the neighboring town of Minglanilla.

Gudelosao, his live-in partner Jean Antonette Medalle and Cellar were arrested.

On February 29, 2016, Gudelosao was found guilty of double murder and sentenced up to 80 years in prison. Cellar received a similar sentence in 2011 after he confessed.

The judge dropped the charges against Medalle for lack of evidence.

The house where the brutal murder happened has been abandoned since the caretaker left in 2012. Jurame Bulawan, a security guard at the subdivision, had no idea what transpired inside when he was first assigned there in 2018.

Part of his job was to conduct roving patrol between midnight and 1 a.m.

During his first month, he saw a woman at the window of the abandoned house twice. She had long hair, wore a white dress and looked like she was asking for help.

It wasn’t until his second month that he found out about what happened to the house’s occupants.

"Manglibawot akong balhibo. Unya kon makit-an nako siya inig lingi gani nako mawala ra man sab. Mao to mopadayon ko sa akong pag roving," Bulawan said.

(It made my hair stand on end. I would see her but when I turned around and looked again, she would disappear. So I continued roving.)

The sightings have been few and far between. Bulawan said he has only seen the woman three more times since then.

The house has managed to weather the test of time. It stands on a nondescript suburban block. Its yard overgrown with weeds and other plants. Not one person has reportedly visited it since the caretaker left a decade ago.

Rene Bontigao, one of the maintenance crew of the subdivision, said he has never seen the woman, but it’s only probably because he works during the day.

He said he has heard many stories, though.

One of them is of a woman screaming for help in the middle of the night. There have also been instances when the quiet is suddenly interrupted by the mournful howling of dogs.

It was said that a priest had blessed the house in 2012 when it was put up for sale. The interested buyer, however, changed his mind when he found out about the fate that befell Peligro and Balasta inside it.