By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY – The 43-year-old man who admitted to have brutally killed a 16-year-old girl in Lapu-Lapu City pleaded not guilty to the murder charge filed against him.
The lawyer of Renato Llenes explained that the not guilty plea did not mean that he was retracting his admission that he killed Christine Lee Silawan last March 10.
“Not guilty as to the charge of murder. We want the case be downgraded to homicide and that’s the only time that he will plead guilty,” said lawyer Manuel Degollacion Jr.
Llenes was arraigned Friday before Judge Christine Muga-Abad of Regional Trial Court Judge Branch 70.
“The strategy is to make sure that the sentence to be imposed is a lower degree. That’s the duty of the lawyer,” Degollacion said.
Murder carries a penalty of 20 to 40 years imprisonment. Homicide carries a penalty of 20 years imprisonment. Unlike murder, homicide is a bailable offense.
Llenes said he stabbed Silawan several times and skinned her face.
Llenes met the girl through Facebook. He befriended the girl by pretending he was a teenage boy named CJ Diaz.
Llenes was arrested by police last April 9 near his home in Lapu-Lapu.
The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor’ Office found probable cause to indict Llenes due to his admission and after it was proven that he was the owner of the Facebook accounts he used in communicating with the victim.
Silawan’s ex-boyfriend was also arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation but was later cleared and released.