Secretary Michael Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas consoles Lourdes Silawan, mother of the slain Christine Lee Silawan, at the girl’s wake in Sitio Soong Barangay Mactan Lapu-Lapu City yesterday. Also shown are Senior Superintendent Limuel Obon, director of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, and Christine’s sister Lucilyn.
Joy Torrejos
Manhunt on vs cult member: Duterte: Get killers
(The Freeman) - March 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Police are hot on the trail of a “flesh-eating” cult member tagged as the prime suspect in the brutal killing of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City last Sunday after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a manhunt operation.

"Itong pumatay na ito...'yung babae...sabi kasi ng ano, mga pulis kulto-kulto. Sabi ko, 'Hanapin ninyo 'yan. Yung binalatan 'yung ano, sabi ko drugs [yan],'" the President said during the campaign rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan in F. L. Dy Memorial Coliseum in Cauayan City the other night.

Police Regional Office-7 director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas said tracker teams from the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office and Danao Police Station are already scouring the mountainous terrain of Sogod town where the suspect, Jonas Bueno, and two other companions were last seen by informants.

Sinas immediately sent operatives to Sogod after Bueno and his companions were seen in the area at about 6 p.m. last Tuesday, March 12.

Regional Intelligence Division chief Senior Supt. Remus Medina said the manner used in the brutal murder of Silawan was similar to that in the killing of a farmer in Danao City early this year where Bueno was also suspect.

Bueno escaped during the service of an arrest warrant on January 18, 2018 but his brothers, Junry and Jovy, were killed during the encounter.

Medina said Bueno along with two other cult members pounced on the unsuspecting Silawan last Sunday. Stories circulating in Danao stated that the cult members eat the flesh of their victims as a "ritual."

Silawan was found dead at a vacant lot in Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City Monday morning. An autopsy of her body showed she died of 20 stab wounds with the wound on her neck being the most fatal. The skin on her face was also ripped off.

Medico legal officer Benjamin Lara said the suspects also cut Silawan’s tongue and hulled out her trachea and esophagus.

P2 million reward

Meanwhile, the reward money for information leading to the arrest of Bueno and his companions has ballooned to P2 million as of yesterday.

"More and more angry businessmen in Cebu have chipped in an amount as reward money for the early arrest of Bueno and his companions," said Medina in an interview with The Philippine Star.

The reward money came from the Lapu-Lapu City government (P1 million); Police Regional Office-7 Advisory Council (P100,000); Cebu Provincial Women’s Commission (P200,000); Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino (P100,000); Philippine Postal Corporation chairman Normal Fulgencio (P100,000); and a retired soldier from Leyte also pledged (P500,000).

Dino visited the wake of the victim yesterday to extend the P20,000 cash assistance from the president.

  "The President and me strongly condemned this killing. This is very inhuman, dili tawo nagbuhat ani (this was not done by human),” said Dino. — with Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon FPL (FREEMAN)

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