ABS-CBN news anchor Teodoro 'Ted' Failon said his wife was faced with a problem about "family finances" before he found her lying in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound in her head in one of the bathrooms of their house in Quezon City on Wednesday. In an interview with Ces Drilon on Bandila, Failon said he talked with his wife 1:30 am Wednesday about the problem, and he tried to assure her that he could earn and recover whatever financial loss she may have incurred. “It's all about the family's finances,” Failon said in the interview. He told her that since they both came from poor families, it should not be a problem. “Kung ano man ang problema na iyan, kung pera man yan o anuman yan, kikitain ko lang iyan,” Failon said. He said he tried to console his wife by saying, “Mommy, galing tayo sa wala eh, di pino-problema iyan.” Failon said he also found that night a "sorry" letter from his wife indicating a financial problem.
The letter said: "Papa, I'm so sorry, gustong-gusto ko pang magsabi sa iyo ng totoo pero hindi ko po alam kung papaano ko uumpisahan. Sobrang takot na takot po ako. Umalis po muna ako kasi hindi ko po kaya at nahihiya po ako sa iyong humarap. Sana po mapatawad mo ako, Papa. Sorry sorry Papa, -- Mama" [Failon clarified during the interview that some of the alleged "po" words in the sorry letter should not be read as "po," a sign of respect given to an older person, but should be "pa," short for "papa."]
The couple failed to fully discuss the problem, but Failon said they agreed to meet again later on Wednesday. At around 10:20 am, while Failon was still on board dzMM for his radio program, "Tambalang Failon at Sanchez," Failon said he was trying to call his wife but she was not answering her phone. He asked their household help to check on his wife and was told she was in the bathroom. When he finally got to talk to his wife on the phone, Failon said his wife told him, “Papa, wala akong mukhang ihaharap sa iyo.”
'Pool of blood'
Failon said that was when he decided to leave early from his program and go home. Upon reaching his residence in Tierra Pura subdivision in Quezon City, Failon said his wife had locked herself in the bathroom. He asked one of the maids to look for the key so that the door could be opened. Asked what he saw, Failon said: "She was lying in a pool of blood." Failon denied he had a physical fight with his wife and that he had hurt her early Wednesday. “Ni minsan (no)…," he said.
Failon said the gun his wife used in the apparent suicide was a licensed Walther PPK .380 which he owned. He said he had taught her how to use it in case she had to defend herself, and that she knew where he kept the gun. "It’s a licensed gun. Noong unang panahon pa, tinuturuan ko siya for protection sa bahay. At siyempre, alam niya kung saan nakatago iyan,” he said. Asked about reports that he could be a suspect, Failon said: "I don't have to defend myself with that allegation."
Police authorities are still trying to determine whether the shooting was an attempted homicide or a suicide attempt. As of posting, Failon and his lawyers had agreed to go to Camp Karingal for further questioning. Trinidad, 44, was still in critical condition at the New Era General Hospital. Failon was accompanied to the police headquarters by his daughter, Kaye, his dzMM radio partner Korina Sanchez, and ABS-CBN Vice-President for sports Peter Musngi.
Failon, whose full name is Mario Teodoro Failon Etong, earlier underwent a paraffin test together with members of his household. In a statement he issued early Wednesday afternoon, Failon said he rushed his wife to the hospital after seeing her lying in a pool of blood. "Hindi ko na tinapos ang aking programa sa dzMM kaninang umaga matapos kong makausap ang aking asawa sa telepono. Kaya umuwi ako kaagad at natagpuan kong nakakandado ang pinto ng banyo,” he said. “Pinabuksan ko ang pinto at natagpuan ko ang aking asawa na duguan kung kaya't itinakbo ko sya kaagad sa ospital."
Not a suicide note
Police Superintendent Frank Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, said the "sorry" note of Trinidad does not appear to be a suicide note. Mabanag lamented that the household helpers of Failon cleaned the bathroom where Trinidad was found, and that Failon returned the gun in the bedroom instead of leaving the scene for the police to examine. Mabanag said Failon and his household helpers could face a case of "obstruction of justice" for cleaning the scene of the shooting incident.
However, Mabanag said the two maids told police they were not told by Failon to clean the bathroom where Trinidad was found lying in a pool of blood. Mabanag said they will also study the bullet entry, which was through the left temple. Initial reports said the couple had an argument in Failon's car on Wednesday, but this was denied by Mabanag.
In an interview Thursday over dzMM, Dr. Adonis Gascon, surgeon of the New Era General Hospital, said Trinidad was still in critical condition. Her vital signs were still unstable. He said Trinidad was not clinically dead as some media organizations (not ABS-CBN) earlier reported. Brain surgery was not an option, he added.
In a statement early Wednesday , ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. appealed to the public to respect the privacy of Failon’s family.
Failon is a news anchor of TV Patrol World and is a radio commentator on dzMM, the radio station of ABS-CBN. In 2001, Failon ran and won as congressman representing the first district of Leyte, but he only served one term, from 2001 to 2004, after which he returned to ABS-CBN. -- With reports from Ces Drilon, Ron Gagalac, Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News; Dennis Datu and Henry Atuelan, dzMM