By Antonio Colina IV and Junar Fenequito
DAVAO CITY – Jonas Martel Bueno, who was arrested on Friday in Davao City for the murder of a 62-year old farmer in Danao City, Cebu, last January 13, 2019, denied he was involved in the gruesome killing of 16-year old Christine Lee Silawan last March 10.
Police Regional Office 11 director Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales, in a press briefing, streamed live on Facebook by DXDC 621 RMN Davao, said the suspect, a resident of Sitio Tubigon, Barangay Santikan, Danao City, Cebu, admitted that he was involved in the killing of 62-year old Trinidad “Trening” Batucan along with his two brothers.
But the suspect maintained that he was not involved in Silawan’s death.
Morales said Bueno, who was previously detained in Cebu City for Illegal drugs, did not disclose his identity to his wife’s relatives. But Morales said possible charges could be filed against the relatives if they are found guilty of “harboring a criminal.”
He said the family claimed it left Cebu as the suspect’s wife was looking for a job in Davao.
According to Morales, Bueno traveled to Davao from Cebu with his wife, two children, and uncle by boat, and claimed to have been staying at the residence of his wife’s relatives in Matina for two weeks already.
Investigators are still verifying if Bueno and his two brothers, Junry and Jovy, who were killed in a follow-up police operation on January 18, 2019, were members of a cult, Morales added.
Bueno was detained at the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Davao.
Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Davao City head Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz said that a joint operation was conducted at around 5 p.m. on Friday at the house in Purok Santiago, Barangay Matina Crossing, this city after receiving reports from concerned citizens on the presence of a suspicious man who resembled the alleged “person of interest” linked to the death of Silawan.
“We are still digging deeper with our investigation on Junas Bueno’s alleged involvement of this killing in Cebu. Deep Investigation and validation from Cebu authorities will be conducted,” Driz said.
Authorities in Cebu found the style of the killing of the two victims strikingly similar, with faces removed from the skull, which led to the “theory” of the police investigators that Bueno could have been one of the suspects in the killing of Silawan, a Maribago High School student who was reported missing after failing to return home from church where she served as a collector last Sunday.
“The suspect was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for a case which happened in Danao where the style of her death was similar to Silawan’s case, which happened recently,” Driz said.
Morales added that investigators were conducting follow-up investigation to establish his possible involvement in Silawan’s case.
“We have reason to believe that it’s just one and the same person,” he said.