By Calvin Cordova
LAPU-LAPU CITY – The city’s police chief cautioned the media against being too eager in identifying the suspects in the brutal murder of 16-year-old Christine Silawan.
Sr. Supt. Limuel Obon called out the media after the photograph of a man who was described as the primary suspect in the killing of Silawan was released a Manila-based media outlet.
Obon strongly denied that the man, identified as Jonas Bueno, has been officially tagged as the girl’s killer.
“That’s fake news,” said Obon when asked to comment on the photo of Bueno.
“We have yet to release or divulge the identity of any suspect because we don’t want to compromise our operations. We are still pursuing the perpetrators. If there’s someone who should release information regarding the identity of the suspects, it should be me,” he added.
Obon has said three persons were involved in the crime and one of them has been identified. He did not give out any names.
Another Manila-based media outfit reported that a “person of interest” in the case was in police custody.
Sr. Supt. Bernard Banac, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police, has since denied the report, saying that he was misquoted by reporters.
Asked if he was upset with the release of Bueno’s photo, Obon said: “Of course. There are lives at stake on the ground. Any information that will be made public might compromise the investigation and we will be going back to zero.”
“It is also unfair on the part of the person in that photo. What if he’s not involved in the crime?” he said.
Obon, however, neither confirmed or denied if Bueno was involved in the killing.
He denied reports that it was Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, Central Visayas police director, and Sr. Supt. Remus Medina, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division, who released the identity of Bueno.
“It was even Director Sinas who instructed us not to release any information regarding the suspect,” said Obon.
Medina was also present during the press briefing, which was held after Silawan’s mother Lourdes met with Obon and Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta.
“What I want is for the real suspect to be arrested,” Lourdes said.
Bueno’s picture has been making the rounds on the internet after it was posted by a media outfit last Thursday night.
Bueno, his brothers Junrey and Juvy, were accused of killing a 60-year-old man in Danao City last Jan. 11.