Not enough evidence to pin down suspect in brutal slay of Lapu-Lapu City girl

Published March 20, 2019, 4:22 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY — Is there enough evidence that would pin down the 17-year-old boy for the death of his ex-girlfriend? The teenage suspect’s legal counsel doesn’t think so.

A 17-year-old boy allegedly involved in the gruesome killing of  Christine Silawan is assisted by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas to the Lapu Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office (Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)
A 17-year-old boy allegedly involved in the gruesome killing of  Christine Silawan is assisted by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas to the Lapu Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office (Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)

Lawyer Vincent Isles is questioning the authenticity of the security camera recordings that the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI 7) used as circumstantial evidence in implicating a teenage suspect for the gruesome murder of Christine Lee Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City last March 10.

“We will file our counter-affidavit next week. We’re praying that the prosecutor would see that there is actually very little circumstantial evidence that the child, my client, is the one responsible for this gruesome murder,” Isles said.

Footages that were captured by security cameras several minutes before Silawan was killed was one of the basis that the NBI 7 used in filing murder charges against the boy, who was arrested in his home in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu last Saturday.

The boy is a former boyfriend of Silawan, whose badly mutilated body was found in a vacant lot in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu last March 11.

Lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter will serve as the prosecution team in the case.

Isles contested that the security camera footages were not enough basis to prove the guilt of the boy.

“First of all, these footages have not been authenticated by the persons who took them or by the operators of the closed-circuit television (CCTV). It would be too late now if they will bring these people because if these are authentic footages, they could have presented them already,” said Isles.

Isles also raised the possibility that the footages may have been altered. NBI 7 has said the security cameras captured footages of Christine and the supposed suspect coming from six establishments.

“There are no clear indications that they had not been edited, they had not been staged and that they really came from these establishments,” Isles said.

Isles said it must also be proven that the persons shown in the footages were Christine and the boy.

“Granting that it was Christine who was seen in the video, no one, except two witnesses, was able to identify that her companion was my client. So, that’s a weak evidence,” said Isles.

Isles also cited one footage that may prove that the boy is not the killer.

“They presented one footage taken at 6:38 p.m. supposedly showing Christine and my client walking together. According to the report of Dr. (Rene) Cam, Christine was killed between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on March 10. So if they were still together at 6:38 p.m., it is an indication that the boy was not the one who killed Christine because they were still walking together several minutes before the victim was killed. Where is the proof beyond reasonable doubt here?” Isles said.

The NBI 7 has said that the suspect used a fake Facebook account in communicating with Christine through Facebook messenger.

Upon review of the posts of the owner of the Facebook account the account, Isles believed that his client was not the same person that communicated with the victim.

“We are destroying the child’s future here. The NBI could have spent some more time researching and identify the real person that chatted Christine before she was killed,” said Isles.

In a separate interview, NBI 7 Director Tomas Enrile assured that in due time, they would be releasing more evidence proving that the 17-year-old boy was behind the murder.

“We are relying on the examination being conducted by our cybercrime investigator. Our approach is scientific. We are examining the Facebook accounts of the victim,” Enrile said.

The NBI 7 is also examining the cell phone seized from the suspect and a “clothing of interest.”

While they are still conducting forensic examination, Enrile said initial findings are pointing to the boy as the killer.

“We already have initial findings. There are people who are saying that a 17-year-old boy is too innocent. We have initial findings that will change the minds of those who don’t believe us. We are not making up stories here, the evidence will speak for itself,” said Enrile.(Calvin D. Cordova)

 
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