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Cebu News

Mary Ann Castro slay case: Car footages gone

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  When state prosecutor Mary Ann Castro was still alive, part of her routine when driving her car was to ensure the vehicle’s dashboard camera was switched on, her family said.

 

So when the family discovered recently that the dashcam in Castro’s Nissan Juke did not contain footages of her ambush, they were baffled.

“We don’t want to assign blame to anyone but it is curious because the dashcam did not anymore contain any footage for January 17 and the days prior. We know that she (Castro) would always record her travels when she’s driving,” said Castro’s daughter, Annamhel Monique Castro Roa, in an interview over radio station dyHP yesterday morning.

Annamhel and two other family members – Castro’s mother Helen and brother Mariven – broke their silence for the first time since Castro was ambushed the night of January 17 by an unknown gunman on board a motorcycle while traversing Escario Extension on her way home in Talisay City from a mall at the Cebu Business Park in Cebu City.

Annamhel, a fourth year law student, expressed hope that the dashcam scenes could help solve the murder, knowing that the equipment can record what is happening both in front and at the rear of the car.

But she said it appeared as though the footages on the very night of the ambush were intentionally deleted. What remained were scenes the day after.

Castro’s car, phone, and planner had been in police custody since the ambush until the family claimed the items from Abellana police 14 days later on January 31.

It was only at this time when the family learned of the “missing” footages, though they did not explicitly say whether they actually saw those footages in the first place.

When Annamhel asked the police about the missing tape, police allegedly told her that they did not touch the dashcam and only checked her mother’s planner.

“It can be said that way – they were erased. The footages in the dashcam are different; they don’t get deleted unless someone does. Especially knowing that no one touched it and it was not supposedly looked into by the PNP,” she said.

“So who could have deleted them if the footages could indeed be deleted?  And if it auto-deletes, why did the January 18 scenes remain, considering that they were also footages from more than a week ago?” she continued.

The FREEMAN tried to get comments from Abellana police chief, Chief Inspector Edward Sanchez, but he declined to issue a statement, saying he was not authorized to speak anything about the case.

Annamhel said they are willing to turn over her mother’s dashcam and cellular phone to the National Bureau of Investigation to see if there was really tampering. The NBI is conducting a separate probe into the killing.

As for the phone, the daughter said she was unsure if some of the messages there had also been erased as she had not seen its contents before.

Looking back, the family told reporters that there were no indications that Castro was facing imminent danger.

“Daghang texts there but none did not seem to be anything out of the ordinary about those texts. Wala sad koy mabasa nga threats didto [sa cellphone] kung naa man gani (I could not find any threatening messages from the phone),” said Annamhel.

As they work towards a swift resolution of the case, the family has vowed to continue cooperating with law-enforcement workers. Their wish is for the authorities to pursue the investigation with “vigor and diligence.”

Castro was laid to rest in a private funeral ceremony in Clarin, Misamis Occidental, her hometown, last January 26.

According to Annamhel, her mom had asked that she be “beautiful” when she died, and so, the family granted that request by letting her wear false eyelashes.

Before her death, Castro was assigned at the Masbate provincial prosecutor’s office, although her permanent assignment was being the assistant prosecutor of Cebu City. — Marjory D. Enriquez, USJ-R Intern, JMD (FREEMAN)

MARY ANN CASTRO

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