CEBU, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation has arrested on Saturday the 17-year-old former boyfriend of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan in relation to the girl’s death.
“We would like to confirm that our regional office here in Cebu has taken into custody the suspect in the gruesome killing of a 16-year old girl,” said Antonio Pagatpat, NBI’s Deputy Director for the Regional Operations.
NBI-7 Assistant Regional Director Dominador Cimafranca said they arrested the boy at his residence in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City by virtue of a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Ramon Daomilas.
The boy did not resist arrest.
The NBI operatives retrieved several mobile devices from the boy’s house, which will be subject to examination.
Charges for murder in relation to the cybercrime law have been filed against the boy before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday.
The boy is now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Like the police, the NBI does not consider Jonas Bueno, the alleged cult member arrested in Davao City, as suspect in Silawan’s killing.
The NBI said it recovered at least 11 clips of footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that showed the boy was the last person who was with Silawan the night the girl went missing on March 10.
It was in the morning of March 11 when Silawan’s body was found at a vacant lot in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City with 20 stab wounds all over her body. The girl’s face was skinned and her esophagus, trachea, and tongue were removed.
Footage would show the two were walking together in Barangay Pajac at 6:38 p.m. on March 10 near the vacant lot where Silawan’s body would be found in neighboring barangay Bankal the following morning.
“The series of CCTV footages materially showed that Silawan and (respondent) were seen together walking from Sacred Heart Parish in Barangay Pajac, starting from 6:12 p.m. up to 6:38 in the evening of that fateful day, 10 March 2019, proceeding to the crime scene,” reads the complaint the NBI filed against the boy.
The NBI said Silawan may have been killed between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., which is corroborated by an autopsy performed on Silawan’s body.
“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,” read the complaint.
Silawan and the boy reportedly exchanged messages on Facebook and it was there that they agreed to meet at the Sacred Heart Parish.
On March 10, the boy reportedly messaged Silawan saying he would give her a teddy bear and a mobile phone.
The NBI said that the online exchanges between the two would indicate that they were in a relationship.
“From these exchanges and interactions, it could logically inferred that (respondent) and Silawan have a romantic relationship,” the NBI’s complaint reads further.
But they reportedly ended their relationship last February 28 this year.
But the online exchanges did not show that the suspect wanted to hurt Silawan.
The NBI said it is possible that the suspect may have been jealous of Silawan agreeing to eat balut with her fellow church volunteer.
The two reportedly went to get balut around the same time Silawan was supposed to meet with the suspect at the church.
This, however, remains to be verified.
Silawan’s mother, Lourdes, believes that the suspect had companions when he killed her daughter.
She said that the boy did not say anything – not even an apology – when she met him after the arrest.
At the Capitol, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale reminded authorities not to treat minors as criminals and immediately put them in jails. She said children in conflict with the law (CICL) should be housed in designated facilities while their cases are being heard.
Magpale, chairperson of the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children, said she was surprised upon learning of the minor’s arrest.
She said that considering the age of the suspect, there might be a need for him to undergo intensive psychological intervention, including a series of sessions or therapy.
She said this psychological help must also be coupled with parental guidance or family support.
“There has to have the help from the parents. The government cannot do it alone but we all have a very important role to play,” Magpale said.
At present, the provincial government has one CICL facility in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion that can accommodate at least 33 clients between 11 to 14 years old. Another facility is being constructed in Barangay Inayagan, Naga City with the same bed capacity but caters to clients between 15 to 18 years old.
The Capitol is also eyeing at constructing a CICL facility solely for female clients.
“What I really want most is to build more CICL facilities like in every big city like Lapu-Lapu… maybe also by legislation, the local government units must implement the construction of facilities,” she told reporters at the sidelines of the Provincial Board’s weekly session.
During that assembly, the Board granted the release of the P200,000 bounty that will be given to whoever can lead authorities to the suspect in Silawan’s killing.
Magpale said they are yet to decide how the money will be turned over but assured it will be available.
Aside from this, the board also approved another resolution for the release of P50,000 financial assistance to Silawan’s family. (FREEMAN)