Children of Pinay parricide suspect come to her defense

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Could one Filipino American businesswoman really be capable of killing her own husband? That is a question a Philippine court has yet to determine — in the case of San Francisco Bay Area-based Mary Ann Laurel.

In 2010, the Philippine Department of Justice ordered the filing of parricide charges against Mary Ann and her eldest child Patrick. They are accused of pulling the plug on her ex-husband Mario, who was then in a coma.

Mario’s siblings filed the murder complaint against Mary Ann and Patrick. Mary Ann is now detained at a Quezon City jail, while Patrick remains in the United States.

Mary Ann’s two other California-based children, Bianca and Terrence, spoke up for the first time.

Bianca said her father’s siblings were always out to get Mary Ann. She said, “A lot of their main arguments had to do about my dad’s side of the family, to be honest. My mother couldn’t handle it anymore. My mom came from a poor family. And my dad didn’t. And they didn’t like that. They were never kind to her.”

A year before Mario’s death in 2007, Bianca revealed that her dad got really sick and got really suspicious of his own siblings.

“When he realized his brothers and sisters were interested in who was in his insurance policy, he was upset with them because they weren’t too concerned about his health, rather who was in his insurance policies,” said Bianca.

Bianca alleged that it was her mother who was still hoping against hope that Mario would come out of his coma. But she said the doctor insisted that her father was already in a vegetative state.

She related, “He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t see anymore. There was no brain activity. You see your father having cardiac arrest after cardiac arrest and you start to wonder, is keeping him alive the right thing to do?”

So she said, upon the doctor’s recommendation, her brother Patrick removed her father off life support.

But Attorney Rodel Rodis, who represented Mario’s siblings in a related case, said otherwise. He pointed out, “There’s no record in the record of any doctor, physician, anyone recommending that life be terminated.”

A medical expert said in court that based on hospital records, Mario should not have been removed off life support. Rodis stressed, “The medical records show his vital signs were all there. He was not a candidate for mercy killing.”

Rodis argued that money was involved because Mary Ann stood to inherit over $1.7 million from Mario’s life insurance policies.

Based on a court testimony by one of Mario’s sister, Rodis said Patrick was initially hesitant to pull the plug. He recounted, “Patrick said, ‘But mom, isn’t that murder?’ But the mother said, ‘No, just turn it off.’ And he dutifully turned it off.”

Bianca argued that the insurance money did not go to Mary Ann. It went to his own kids. She said, “His insurance policies did go to us, kind of. It went to paying his back taxes and helping us build a business again.”

As his mother continues to seek bail and defend her innocence in court, Terrence told her this: “We’re going to bring you home safe.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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