20 May 2004

Charged of Slaughtering His Own Family

Australian news hours ago announced that Sef Gonzales, the 23-year-old Filipino law student, has been found guilty of murdering his parents and his 18-year-old sister in July 2001. Sef was observed to put his head in his hands as the verdict of guilty was read out. He faces life imprisonment when he is sentenced.

At the far end of the courtroom, Sef's aunt, Annie Paraan, broke down in tears as the verdict was read out while another aunt, Emily Luna, mouthed "thank you" at the media. Ms Paraan said she felt the verdict was correct but it was hard to accept a relative was responsible for the brutal murders.

Sef had pleaded not guilty to the murders, telling the court he was with a prostitute that night. But a series and litany of lies (click here) he told the police probably convinced the NSW Supreme Court jury that he was guilty. The series of lies included his claim that he was with a prostitute at the time of the killings. The prosecution found that he scrawled graffiti on the walls of his home in an attempt to make the killings look racially motivated. He strangled his sister, then clubbed and stabbed her. He then stabbed to death his father and mother one at a time as they arrived home from work.

Motives? Aussie prosecutor Mark Tedeschi said Gonzales feared his wealthy family would disown him because his grades were falling and they disapproved of his girlfriend. He also stood to inherit millions of dollars worth of assets in Australia and the Philippines.

Her aunt Annie Paraan futher said: "I just feel that we have lost another member of the family. We're really in pain. I think justice has been done but it would have been easier to accept if it were a different person. It's so hard to accept."

True. It is really too gut-wrenching to accept. Heck, I even find it too hard to believe. Seems like a Hollywood movie plot to me. Amazing what a son would do just to get back at a family he has grown to hate. In my opinion, murder is reserved for people you terribly hate. Even that is debatable. Sef had a nice life, I think. Nicer than most Filipinos of his age here at home. And yet, he annihilated the very hands that cared and fed him. Material comforts may not be what he really needed, after all. It could have been more attention and more time talking with his mom and dad. Is this a lesson for all those parents out there?

But hey, I'm just an outsider looking in. Who knows what goes (or what went off) in Sef's mind?

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