- Dorothy Acueza Jones
January 06, 1936
- Date of Death
- November 07, 2001 (age 65)
- Rod Lauren
- Inocencia Acueza, John William Jones II
Dorothy Acueza Jones, (January 6, 1936 – November 7, 2001) popularly known by her stage name Nida Blanca, was a Filipina actress. She starred in over 163 movies and 14 television shows and received over 16 awards for movies and six awards for television during her 50-year film career. She was named one of 15 Best Actress of all Time by YES magazine.
She was stabbed to death in a condo parking lot in San Juan City on November 7, 2001.
Born as Dorothy Acueza Jones in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, Philippines (then a U.S. territory) to an American soldier father and a Filipina mother, she appeared in her first film at age 14. Actress Delia Razon successfully urged the head of LVN Pictures, Doña Sisang de Leon to hire Blanca. She was screen tested on October 6, 1950 by LVN Pictures where she reigned as queen for more than a decade, doing mostly comedies opposite the late Nestor de Villa. In the movies, she has played everything from a guy-punching lesbian to a nun. She also starred in the hit TV comedy series, John En Marsha, where she played the wife who sticks by her poor husband despite her rich mother's constant harping. In 1958, she appeared opposite her contemporary, noted singer/actress Sylvia La Torre, and Leroy Salvador, in the LVN movie Tuloy ang Ligaya.
Blanca was married twice. She separated from her first husband, Victorino Torres when their daughter Kaye was only two years old. She later married her second husband Roger Lawrence Strunk (1940-2007), an American singer and actor, known by his screen name, Rod Lauren in Las Vegas in 1979. The couple relocated to Manila.
On November 7, 2001, Blanca was found murdered, beaten and stabbed 13 times in the back seat of her Nissan Sentra in the parking lot of Atlanta Centre in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila where she worked for MTRCB. She was an active member of the Movies and Television Regulatory Classification Board (MTRCB), attending screenings and rating movies twice a week, at the time of her death.
The prime suspect was Blanca's husband Rod Strunk whom the prosecutors said had hired a hitman to kill her because Blanca had disinherited him from her will. Investigators found that Blanca had up to P85 million in properties, including a Greenhills, San Juan condominium worth P10 million and a house in California worth $300,000. If Blanca had annulled her marriage, Strunk would get nothing. But if Blanca died before she was able to terminate her marriage, under the law, Strunk being the legal spouse would be entitled to a portion of his estranged wife’s inheritance even though Blanca’s will stated that all her properties would go to her daughter.
The case rests on the statements of witnesses and Philip Medel, a self-confessed killer who surrendered to PNP Task Force Marsha on November 19, 2001 and confessed that Strunk had hired him to kill Blanca. Medel recanted his testimony four days later claiming the police had tortured him into confessing. The prosecutors said medical examinations had found no evidence to back his claim of torture.
Despite Medel's recantation, Strunk remained the prime suspect according to Philippine prosecutors, based largely on circumstantial evidence and statements of new witnesses. Strunk was in the U.S. in 2003 when he was charged with the murder of Blanca. He left the Philippines in January 2002 to visit his mother who was dying at the time and never returned. He was later arrested at his home and detained at the Sacramento County Jail after the Philippine government filed an extradition request against Strunk to stand trial in the Philippines. The U.S. court denied the extradition request and Strunk was immediately released from jail. The Philippine government had filed a second extradition case against Strunk but has not received any official response from the United States government.
Strunk committed suicide on July 11, 2007 by jumping from a second-floor balcony of the Tracy Inn in Tracy, California where he had been staying for the previous three days.
Kaye Torres lamented in 2008 that after seven years, the criminal case is still pending trial. She stated that she is convinced Philip Medel is guilty of the crime.
Philip Medel remained the suspect and was held in jail until his death on 7 April 2010 at the age of 62. Medel died of sepsis caused by pneumonia at the Philippine General Hospital.
The pending murder case on Nida Blanca was featured in the Philippine T.V. documentary show Case Unclosed as its sixth episode titled "Nida Blanca Murder Case."