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Cebu News

7 more Aquinas victims known

Ria Mae Y. Booc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Seven more of the 50 remaining unidentified victims of the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas sinking have been identified by the PNP Crime Laboratory-7 through DNA cross-matching.

However, only five of the names have been released pending the verification to ascertain the identities of the other two.

Those identified were two-year-old Chinese national Wu Cheixin, Alma Pomoy, Jeruld Hotahot, Agatona Lafuente and either of  the two sisters, Pilar Jualo and Delia Galandrina.

Chief Insp. Benjamin Lara, medico-legal-officer, said that donor of Jualo and Delia was their mother, Rupina Galandrina. While her specimen matched with her two daughters, the crime laboratory has yet to specifically identify which of the two bodies was Pilar and which was Delia.

"It's better kung dunay anak either usa nila aron gyud mahibaw-an nato sino sa kanila si Jualo and Delia," Lara said adding that they could also resort to second identifiers if needed like the clothing worn, items in possession and identification card, as an option.

The crime laboratory lowered the number of unidentified victims from 53 to 50 after it was found out three body parts recovered belonged to one person.

"The right arm, leg and right leg found used to have three different case numbers but during cross-matching it turned out that those were owned by one and same person who was Pomoy," Lara explained.

The last two undisclosed names had results, but medico-legal officers want to do more cross-matching.

Lara said they do not have a timeframe in cross-matching DNA samples because they have to test all specimens of the donors and of the victims.

"Tiempo lang na pag-match namin sa iba may results na kaagad," Lara said.

The crime laboratory called on the relatives of the identified victims to proceed to their office at the Camp Sotero Cabahug or at the Cosmopolitan funeral parlor to process necessary papers for the exhumation of the cadavers at the Carreta public cemetery.

Exhumed

Vilma Maligro claimed the body of her 78-year-old mother, Lafuente yesterday afternoon.

Maligro, a native of Bayogan, Agusan del Sur, said she had mixed feelings after her mother was finally identified. Her husband, Hilario and their eight-year-old son, Mark Christian, died during the incident.

Lafuente's body was exhumed past 1 p.m. and was immediately brought to the Cosmopolitan funeral parlor where it was scheduled for cremation as of last night. Maligro plans to bring the ashes back to Agusan del Norte on Wednesday.

"Last week lang ko napahibalo sa crime laboratory nga positive ang lawas sa akong mama," she admitted.

She recalled that her mother, husband, and son were on their respective bunks when the collision took place.

"Nakadagan ko sa ibabaw sa barko, nagkupot ko sa railings pero wala nakoy mahinumduman human ato," she said.  (FREEMAN)

 

AGATONA LAFUENTE

AGUSAN

ALMA POMOY

BENJAMIN LARA

CAMP SOTERO CABAHUG

CHIEF INSP

CRIME LABORATORY

JERULD HOTAHOT

JUALO AND DELIA

LARA

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