By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—The mother of the 17-year-old boy who was arrested for the death of a 16-year-old girl in Lapu-Lapu City vehemently denied that her son was involved in the gruesome crime.
The mother, name withheld to protect the privacy of the minor suspect, said her son was in their home in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu when Christine Lee Silawan was killed last March 10.
“He helped repair our roof on that day. He played basketball in the afternoon then went home. After dinner, he fell asleep while watching television,” the mother said in a Facebook Live interview by a local newspaper here.
The mother said a 17-year-old boy like her son is not capable of doing such a gruesome crime.
“My son is not capable of killing a person. I know my son very well. As a mother, I felt bad about what happened to my son. The real killer is laughing now because a wrong suspect was arrested,” she said.
The mother said his son admitted that Christine Lee was his ex-girlfriend but the relationship only lasted for a week.
The mother revealed that her son was picked up by police for questioning last March 12.
“I was told that he was being investigated because he is a former boyfriend of the girl,” the mother said.
The mother said her son was released by the police after the questioning but the next day, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI 7) arrived in their house for another questioning.
The mother said NBI 7 agents returned to their home last Saturday. The NBI 7 implemented a search warrant issued by Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas and arrested her son.
NBI 7 Director Tomas Enrile said that a “clothing of interest” was seized during the search.
The clothing and the cell phone seized from the teenage suspect are still being subjected for forensic examination, the NBI 7 said.
The mother said she didn’t see her son the whole Sunday after he was picked up by NBI 7 agents.
“My son allegedly admitted to the crime. I don’t know what they did that forced my son to admit,” she said.
The mother admitted that her son had vices in the past but she did not elaborate.
“I advised him to change because we are already under Duterte,” the mother said, seemingly referring to President Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs.
NBI 7 Assistant Regional Director Dominador Cimafranca said proper procedure was followed when the boy was arrested.
“We observed the rights of the boy during the arrest,” said Cimafranca, who refused to comment when asked if the boy indeed owned up the crime.
“We are prohibited to make a comment on that because we have to respect the right of the accused being a minor,” he said.
On the other hand, the family of the slain Christine Lee is convinced that the girl’s 17-year-old ex-boyfriend was behind the gruesome murder.
But while they welcomed the arrest of the teenage suspect, the family is calling on the authorities to dig deeper into the investigation and identify the other perpetrators.
“I am convinced that the one who got arrested is involved but I am not yet totally comfortable because I believe that he was not alone when he killed my daughter,” said Christine’s mother Lourdes in Cebuano.
The arrest came after almost a week after Christine Lee, a grade nine student, was found dead in a vacant lot in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu.
The victim, whose body was riddled with stab wounds, was found naked from the waist down, her face skinned to the bone and some of her internal organs were missing.
A complaint for murder in relation to Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act was filed against the boy before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office last Monday.
Christine Lee and the suspect are schoolmates at the Maribago National High School.
Cimafranca said the case is not yet closed although charges have been filed against the boy as further investigation is in progress to determine if the suspect had cohorts.
The NBI 7 said the exchanges between the victim and the suspect in Facebook messenger and security camera footages that were captured hours before Christine Lee was killed paved the way for the suspect’s arrest.
The NBI 7 said jealousy was the motive in the killing.
According to the NBI 7, the suspect and the victim broke up last February 28 but agreed to meet on March 10 as the boy was supposed to give the girl a teddy bear and a cell phone.
The NBI 7 theorized that the suspect got irked after he saw Christine Lee eating “balut” with another boy.
In one of the footages, Christine Lee was seen walking in haste as the suspect followed her.
The last security camera to capture the two was the one installed at the gate of a subdivision which was located a few kilometers from the place where Christine’s body was found in the morning of March 11.
“We have witnesses who confirmed that it was Christine and the boy who was shown in the footages that we recovered,” said Cimafranca.
Cimafranca said the strong circumstantial evidence bolstered the case against the suspect.
The abrasions found in the suspect’s body are also considered strong evidence against the suspect, Cimafranca said.
Christine will be laid to rest on March 24, two days before what could have been her 17th birthday and a day after her mother’s 48th birthday.
“I still consider the arrest as a good birthday gift but we are really hoping that the other perpetrators will be arrested,” said Lourdes.