Christine Silawan buried, as suspect is released

By Calvin Cordova

CEBU CITY–The 16-year-old girl who was brutally murdered in Lapu-Lapu City was buried last Saturday.

Emotions ran high during the burial of Christine Lee Silawan, whose muti­lated body was found in a grassy lot in Barangay Bankal last March 11.

As Silawan’s family, relatives, and friends bade her goodbye, the 17-year-old boy detained as a suspect in the killing was released from the custody of Lapu-Lapu’s social welfare development office.

GRIEF-STRICKEN – Lourdes Silawan is tended to by relatives after she fainted during the burial of her daughter Christine in Lapu-Lapu City Saturday. (JUAN CARLO DE VELA / MANILA BULLETIN)
GRIEF-STRICKEN – Lourdes Silawan is tended to by relatives after she fainted during the burial of her daughter Christine in Lapu-Lapu City Saturday. (JUAN CARLO DE VELA / MANILA BULLETIN)

Silawan was buried at the Cattleya Cemetery in Cordova, Cebu.

Vincent Isles, the boy’s lawyer, said he picked up the boy past noon last Saturday and brought him to a safe house.
The boy was released after Isles contested that the warrantless arrest was invalid.

“Last Thursday, we filed an omni­bus motion to release the boy from the custody of the homecare facility of the social welfare office because there is no valid ground for him to be held under the custody of the law,” the lawyer said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office in Central Visayas had theo­rized that Silawan was killed between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

NBI agents arrested the boy at his home in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu last March 16.

The NBI filed a murder case against the boy before the Lapu-Lapu Prosecu­tor’s Office.

Isles argued that the warrantless ar­rest was made more than five days after the crime was committed.

“He was not arrested in flagrante delicto. He was arrested on the basis of the hot pursuit theory. But under the hot pursuit theory, you must have personal knowledge as well as probable cause to believe that he was the one who com­mitted the crime. He was arrested more than five days so there was no basis for warrantless arrest and preliminary in­vestigation should be conducted instead,” Isles said.

Isles explained that the filing of the motion to release the boy was part of the legal process.

“I emphasized that the decision to release does not in any way indicate the strength or the weakness of the case against him. The case will continue but it will go through the regular preliminary investigation where we will submit our counter-affidavit,” he said.

Isles said the boy was not brought home for security reasons.

“He was visibly relieved when he was released,” Isles said.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Com­mission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jime­nez was disappointed with the release of the boy, saying that there were too many loopholes in the investigation.

Jimenez attended the burial of Si­lawan.

Hundreds of people attended the burial, some of them wearing white shirts bearing the words “Justice for Christine.”

During the requiem mass at the Sto. Niño Church in Barangay Mactan, Chris­tine’s mother Lourdes had to be attended by paramedics after she passed out.

The burial happened on the 48th birthday of the victim’s mother.

READ MORE: Former boyfriend arrested for brutal slay of Lapu Lapu City lass

 
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