Sun.Star Cebu




THE mother of the 17-year-old boy picked up on sus­pi­cion of be­ing the killer of Chris­tine Lee Si­lawan is adamant that her son is in­no­cent.

She said the au­thor­i­ties be­hind her son’s ar­rest are in a hurry to claim the P2-mil­lion bounty and are re­sort­ing to mak­ing up ev­i­dence against him.

But the Na­tional Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (NBI) said the ev­i­dence gath­ered so far in­di­cates a case against John (not his real name), Si­lawan’s for­mer boyfriend.

NBI As­sis­tant Re­gional Di­rec­tor Dom­i­nador Ci­mafranca said they picked “a cloth­ing of in­ter­est” and the mo­bile phone from the boy.

Si­lawan’s mu­ti­lated body was found in a va­cant lot in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City on March 11. Her face had been flayed.

The ex-boyfriend’s mother, in an in­ter­view with Superbalit­a Cebu, said the NBI and sup­posed wit­nesses are col­lud­ing with each other so they can share the bounty among them­selves.

Footage from a closed cir­cuit TV cam­era (CCTV) showed a thin-framed cou­ple with their back to the cam­era. This cou­ple was sup­pos­edly Si­lawan and her boyfriend.

How could the au­thor­i­ties know that it was they when only the backs were shown? The boy’s mother asked.

The mother said her son is a “babaero” who can’t stay in a re­la­tion­ship for long. He and Si­lawan had long bro­ken up, she said.

In the morn­ing of March 10, the day be­fore Si­lawan was found dead, her son was fix­ing the roof of their house, she said.

In the af­ter­noon, he played bas­ket­ball.

At 6 p.m., he went home, watched TV, had sup­per and then went to sleep.

The mother said that if in­deed it was her son who had mur­dered Si­lawan, he wouldn’t have been able to go to school the next day (March 11) be­cause he would be “tu­lala” or in shock.

She said this wasn’t the first time her son had been picked up by au­thor­i­ties.

On March 12, the day af­ter Si­lawan’s body was found, po­lice picked him up while he was play­ing bas­ket­ball in the neigh­bor­hood.

She didn’t know where he was brought, but he re­turned home and told her what hap­pened.

On March 13, this time NBI agents picked him up and nee­dled him for in­for­ma­tion.

Her son has been turned over for cus­tody in a govern­ment fa­cil­ity.

She saw him at 6 p.m. on Mon­day, March 18.

The NBI’s Ci­mafranca said the ev­i­dence his men have gath­ered so far tend to show they have solid ev­i­dence against the ex-boyfriend.

“We have re­cov­ered some cloth­ing of in­ter­est, iyang kalo (his cap),” Ci­mafranca said.

The cap has traces of blood; a blood sam­ple will be sent for DNA test­ing, he said.

Also, the ex-boyfriend’s phone screen bears a crack, which may have re­sulted from a fight. Si­lawan’s body bore bruises. Ci­mafranca said it is likely that a chase or a run­ning pur­suit oc­curred.

The place where Si­lawan’s body was found is known to be a dat­ing place for lovers.

An NBI foren­sic team is ex­pected to ar­rive to­day to help in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Other de­vel­op­ments: Cebu Arch­bishop Jose Palma is sad­dened to learn of Si­lawan’s grue­some death, but he said the killer needs to be for­given but he should also be pun­ished for what he has done.

“For­give­ness is al­ways part of the Chris­tian dis­po­si­tion. It doesn’t mean that in for­give­ness, we do not pun­ish the guilty. Pun­ish­ment is also part of life and of so­ci­ety,” he said.

Cel­e­brat­ing his 69th birth­day on March 19, Palma said one must find “bal­ance” be­tween for­give­ness and pun­ish­ment and “how it will bring about even­tu­ally a learn­ing process, the re­al­iza­tion of many val­ues and of course an ef­fort to rec­tify and to heal.”

A friend of Si­lawan’s ex-boyfriend said he played bas­ket­ball with the ex-boyfriend on the night Si­lawan was killed. They were to­gether un­til 7 p.m. when they parted ways af­ter the game.

A ba­lut ven­dor cor­rob­o­rated the friend’s state­ment.

The ven­dor said he saw the two teenagers play bas­ket­ball and then buy ba­lut from him.

A brother of John said while he did not know Si­lawan, John told him about her and that they were in a re­la­tion­ship only for five days in June 2018 be­cause John found some­one else.

John is still in Grade 7 be­cause a lung prob­lem hin­ders him from at­tend­ing classes and from com­plet­ing a school cal­en­dar, his brother said.

Of­fi­cials of the school where John was said to have en­rolled for school year 2018-2019 nei­ther con­firmed nor de­nied that John was an en­rollee.

The Lapu-Lapu City Govern­ment is not re­leas­ing the P1-mil­lion bounty de­spite John’s ar­rest, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Paz Radaza.

She said the ex-boyfriend is not the only cul­prit. There are oth­ers who must also be ar­rested.

Radaza said the re­ward money might be given to the au­thor­i­ties or the in­for­mants who helped the in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The City Coun­cil has yet to pass a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for the re­lease of the re­ward.

Radaza said she has plans to give state-of-the-art equip­ment to the Lapu-Lapu City Po­lice that can en­hance the videos cap­tured by the closed cir­cuit tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cam­eras. /

For­give­ness is al­ways part of the Chris­tian dis­po­si­tion. It doesn’t mean that in for­give­ness, we do not pun­ish the guilty. Pun­ish­ment is also part of life and of so­ci­ety. JOSE PALMA Cebu Arch­bishop

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