Death of Christine Silawan NBI says case vs boy strong
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - March 20, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation believes the complaint they filed against the former boyfriend of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan is strong enough to merit the filing of formal charges in court.

 

“We have strong evidence,” said Asst. Regional Director Dominador Cimafranca.

In the absence of an eyewitness to the actual killing, the NBI’s complaint rests largely on circumstantial evidence.

But Cimafranca said they based their investigation on evidence and they are bound by “legality and thoroughness.”

The bureau filed a murder complaint in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act against the boy, arguing that he communicated with Silawan online prior to killing her.

Prosecutors in Lapu-Lapu City where Silawan was killed on March 10, 2019 will look into the complaint and rule whether or not there is enough grounds to elevate it in court.

NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Antonio Pagatpat said a special panel of prosecutors will conduct the preliminary investigation.

The Lapu-Lapu City police also said yesterday that they have identified the same suspect in their own investigation.

“Actually dakpon na man to namo pero nihunong mi pag Sabado sa gabii kay nakuha na kuno sa NBI; naunhan mi (We were supposed to arrest him but we were told that the NBI got to him first),” Lapu-Lapu Police Director Limuel Obon said yesterday.

He said they will leave the rest of the investigation to the NBI.

Evidence

Cimafranca said footages from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras show that the ex-boyfriend was the last person seen with Silawan the night she was believed to have been killed near the area where the girl’s body was found the next day.

Silawan was found lifeless in Barangay Bankal early morning of March 11. An autopsy on her body estimated her death between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the night before.

Cimafranca said witnesses identify the people in the CCTV footages positively as Silawan and her ex-boyfriend.

The two used to go to the same school and had a romantic relationship, which ended on February 28, 2019.

The NBI said it is possible that the suspect may have been jealous of Silawan agreeing to eat balut with her fellow church volunteer on the time they were supposed to meet again on March 10.

The suspect’s name reportedly surfaced during investigation and he was considered first as a person of interest.

Before the boy’s arrest on Saturday, the NBI conducted a series of interviews and secured 11 CCTV footages, including from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Barangay Pajac where Silawan and the suspect agreed to meet around 6 p.m. on March 10.

One video clip shows the boy walking and crossing the street heading to the church. Several others show the two walking together at a residential area.

“There were no captured CCTV footages that will show either [respondent] and Silawan presence’ extending outside from the crime scene, hence, it could also deduced that they proceeded to the vacant lot where Silawan’s body was found immediately after they were last captured,” the NBI’s complaint reads.

The NBI also found out that Silawan communicated constantly with the suspect online. In their last chat, they agreed to meet at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish where the boy told Silawan he would give her a phone and a teddy bear.

The NBI said they sought the help of their Cybercrime Division in Manila for technical assistance.

“With the collated evidence from the results of the Facebook examination and identification of our POI and (the 17-year old boy)  as one and the same person, on March 16, 2019, a search warrant to search warrant…was applied,” the affidavit reads.

Cimafranca said they recovered a mobile phone and pieces of clothing with bloodstains from the boy’s house when they implemented a search warrant and eventually arrested him. The items will be subjected to forensic examination.

During physical examination, NBI medico-legal officer Dr. Rene Cam noticed bruises on the boy’s left arm, which he said the boy may have sustained approximately at the time he allegedly committed the crime. The NBI is now investigating whether or not the boy had cohorts.

Standing By

The suspect’s older brother said the family does not believe that the person captured in the CCTV is his brother.

"Di mi mu-tuo, layo ra kaayo sa lawas ug katas-on, niya akong manghud kay bako, niya ang nakit-an nila sa CCTV kay dako man og lawas ug straight (We don’t believe it because the height and physical build of the guy in the CCTV is far from my brother’s height and physical build)," he said.

Despite the allegations, though, he said his family does not have anything against anyone. He said his brother is a good person and they cannot believe that he can do the things he is being accused of.

He believes that the supposed online communication between his brother and Silawan is fabricated.

"Ilaha ra nang comment-comment. Ilaha ra nang himo-himo (That’s what they like to believe. They are just making that up)," he said.

He said his brother was also hurt when he learned of Silawan’s death. He urged the real suspects to surrender.

"Mo tug-an lang sila kay ako manghud, sakit kaayo ba, niya ang suspek sige ra'g attack. May lang mu tug-an lang jud sa kinsa mang nagpatay kay Christine Silawan. May mo-surrender to ang nagpatay niya kay inosente ako manghud. Di jud siya kahimo ana (They should surrender because I pity my brother. He is innocent. He did not kill Christine Silawan)," he said. 

Curfew

In Lapu-Lapu City, following Silawan’s death, the city government is strengthening the implementation of its curfew ordinance.

"Eleven p.m. ang curfew, but ginabuhat karon is 10 p.m. for monitoring. Eleven p.m. jud ang naa sa balaod nato… until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. (The curfew is at 11 p.m. but what we’re doing now is start monitoring by 10 p.m. The curfew is effective until around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.)," said Mayor Paz Radaza.

Schools have also been directed to monitor the students, especially those who have classes until night time and travel back home at night. — with Camille L. Pateres, Jahzeel Willow S. Coquico,USC Intern

JMO (FREEMAN)

CHRISTINE LEE SILAWAN
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