Cebu News

NBI agents arrest Bella Ruby in Manila

- Ria Mae Y. Booc -

CEBU, Philippines - The long arm of the law caught up with Bella Ruby Santos yesterday afternoon at a mall in Manila almost three months since a warrant for her arrest was issued in relation to the kidnap-slay of a six-year-old girl.

Santos has been charged for the kidnapping and death of Ellah Joy Pique, who was taken while walking home from the Calajoan Elementary School in Minglanilla town last February 8.

The girl’s body was found the next day dumped off the road in Barili town on the southwestern part of Cebu Province.

Santos and her British boyfriend Ian Charles Griffiths have been tagged responsible for the crime. Griffiths is currently in the United Kingdom.

When a warrant for her arrest was issued last July 11 by RTC Judge Ester Veloso, authorities could not anymore find Santos.

This was the case until yesterday at the SM Mega Mall in Ortigas.

NBI agents

Acting on a tip from agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Santos.

NBI Agent Arnel Pura, who made the arrest, said that he received a text message from Supervising Agent Rennan Oliva about the presence of Santos in the mall.

Pura then contacted Atty. Lauro Reyes, Assistant Regional Director of NBI-NCR, who happened to also be at the mall.

“Timing naman na andito ako sa Manila at si sir Larry andu’n sa mall,” he told The FREEMAN.

Pura said that when they spotted Santos, it was quite difficult to identify her right away.

Santos, who used to have long hair, already sported what is called a ‘Boy cut’ and is now slimmer.

Her clothes were not anymore the kind that she used to be seen in when she was in Cebu facing the media when she and her boyfriend were tagged as responsible for the death of Pique.

Pura said that Santos wore unfashionable clothes.

The NBI agent was however to make out the features of Santos face.

The NBI agents first saw Santos inside a beauty store, but they were only able to approach her when she entered a health store.

Pura said that at first Santos said that she was Lara Eva Gonzales, but when she was asked for identification, she could not show any.

The agents then invited her to the security office of the mall while at the same time he was calling the NBI-7 office to fax a copy of the warrant of arrest as well as photos of Santos. Santos later admitted her real identity, which was also confirmed on the photos sent.


In an interview over GMA-7 Balitang Bisdak, Santos admitted that she had been hiding in Manila where she rented an apartment.

“Nag-rent ra ko aron new people, new surroundings,” she said.

   She also asked television news anchor Bobby Nalzaro to inform her mother, who is in Cebu not worry about her.

She claimed during the TV interview that she hid from the law as it took a long time for the authorities to find the real culprits as she continued to deny any hand in the crime.

“It does not mean nga nilakaw ko nahadlok ko tigaan nako sila (police) ug hard time,” she said.

Santos will be temporarily detained at the NBI national headquarters and is set to be brought to Cebu today.

Lawyer Inocencio de la Cerna, legal counsel of the Task Force Ellah Joy, said that her arrest would mean that they could start the trial to give justice to Ellah Joy.

Defense counsel Rameses Villagonzalo said that he plans to talk to his client first to discuss their next move.

“We will fight her case aggressively and ethically,” he said in a text message. Lawyer Joan Saniel, of the prosecution team, said, “We can now move for the court to schedule an arraignment.” —/NLQ (FREEMAN)












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