By Jeffrey Damicog
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) believes there should be an airtight case before a complaint is filed against possible suspects in the killing of 16-year-old Christine Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City.
PAO forensics team chief Dr. Erwin Erfe made this comment on Thursday after the PAO granted the request of the Silawan family last week to help them in the case.
“Dapat malakas yung kaso (the case must be strong),” said Erfe who expressed the view that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) may have been too hasty in filing a criminal complaint against the 17-year-old boyfriend of Christine.
For its part, Erfe assured that the PAO will continue to gather more evidence and investigate the case.
“But on our part, tuloy-tuloy po yung investigation namin. Ina-analyze lang namin yung physical evidence (We continue with out investigation. We are analyzing the physical evidence),” the PAO official said.
Christine, who served as collector at a church ministry but failed to get home on March 10, was reported missing then found the following morning at a vacant lot in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City. She was naked from the waist down, sustained multiple stab wounds, and had her face peeled off to the bone.
The NBI Central Visayas Regional Office has already filed a criminal complaint before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’s Office against the minor following his arrest.
“Although maganda yung ignawa nila doon sa digital footprint investistigation nila doon, tingin lang naming circumstantial lang yung ebidensya baka nga makawala pa (Although they did good with the digitgal footprint investigation, I think the evidence remains circumstantial and the suspect might get free),” said Erfe who admitted he was surprised the NBI filed a complaint.
The NBI based its complaint Christine’s messages with the suspect on her social media account on Facebook and the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage which showed they were together.
Erfe also observed a conflict with between the findings of the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP) which are conducting separate investigations.
“Maganda sana kung nag-usap sila ng mga pulis kasi pulis may hawak ng malakas na ebidensya (It would have been better if they talked with police which already has a strong evidence in the case),” he said.
The PAO official noted that police has already found two witnesses, including a mute, who both saw that Christine was raped first and then killed.
“I think they are leading in the right track sa investigation nila,” Erfe said.
On the other hand, Erfe cited that the autopsy conducted by police showed that there was no sign that Christine was raped.
He also noticed that, though the cuts were crudely made, her skin and flesh were taken away very cleanly.
“Mukhang may nangyari pa after doon nung binalatan yung mukha (It seems something happened after her face was peeled off),” Erfe observed.
In the meantime, he assures the PAO’s commitment to piece together what actually happened to Christine.
“So we are trying to piece every evidence that we could get into para maging consistent ang kaso (so the case can be consistent),” Erfe stated.