Five members of a Taiwanese family were found dead - their heads covered in plastic bags - at their home in San Juan City on Saturday morning.
The Eastern Police District identified the victims as couple Roxanne Hsieh, 53, and Luis Hsieh; and their three children Amanda, 18; Jeffrey, 13; and John, 12. Luis was reportedly a businessman exporting handicraft.
Senior Supt. Ariel Arcinas, the city's chief of police, said two letters suggesting murder-suicide were found in the house but investigators had yet to make this conclusion pending autopsy results.
The five bodies were found at 9:30 a.m. in separate rooms of the family's unit at Midland Park Manor Condominium building on Ortigas Avenue in Greenhills.
The couple were found on the bed of the master bedroom and the two youngest children on the floor of that same room, Arcinas said. The eldest child was found on the bed in her room.
"They all had a transparent plastic bag on their heads. The mouths of two of the children were foaming," Arcinas said, noting that the bodies did not bear other signs of foul play, like stab or gunshot wounds. The condo unit also showed no signs of struggle or forcible entry.
The bodies were found by the family's housemaid, Livina Econia, neighbour Dr. Grace Tan Chua, and building and local authorities.
But before the shocking discovery, Econia, who lived with the victims, first found what appeared to be two suicide notes placed on a sink near her quarters. One printed in English and the other written in Chinese, the notes were placed in envelopes and bore the couple's signatures.
"The letters said the family was facing financial difficulties and gave instructions for [the dead] to be cremated in a Buddhist temple," Arcinas said. They also had instructions for Econia to show the notes to the authorities.
"When the authorities and the doctor (Chua) went to the house, it was the maid who opened the door and led the group to the rooms. When the door was opened and she saw the bodies, she was hysterical," Arcinas said.
The bodies were brought to Camp Crame for autopsy.