Two more suspects in the Kristelle “Kae” Davantes case are now in the custody of the police after one gave himself up and the other was arrested in the southern part of Metro Manila.
At a press conference held around midnight Saturday at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, the police task force investigating the killing of the 25-year-old advertising manager announced that they had earlier taken into custody Reggie “Jojo” Diel, 30, and Lloyd Enriquez, 18.
Enriquez was arrested in Cupang, Muntinlupa City, after the police started monitoring robbery groups operating in the southern part of Metro Manila in connection with Davantes’ case, according to Task Force Kae head Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa.
Diel evaded arrest although he later surrendered to the Las Piñas police with the help of a priest in the city, Laxa said.
According to authorities, the two, along with Samuel Lloren Decimo—the first suspect who was apprehended by the National Bureau of Investigation—belonged to the same robbery group.
Just for kicks
“It seems they do robbery-holdups just for kicks. But with Kae, they were alarmed because they thought she could identify them and their car’s plate number,” Laxa said.
Southern Police District director Chief Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte added that the suspects were neighbors in Molino, Cavite.
Davantes was believed abducted by the group after she got out of her Toyota Altis to open the gate to her family’s house in Moonwalk Village, Las Piñas City, in the wee hours of Sept. 7.
At gunpoint, three members of the group grabbed her, forced her back into her vehicle and drove away in it, followed closely by two other cohorts in another car, a red Honda City (NYO 517).
Davantes was found dead under a bridge in Silang, Cavite, a few hours later. Her car was recovered in Camella Homes, Pamplona Tres, on Sept. 15 and it was evident that the perpetrators had tried but failed to burn it.
Also recovered on Saturday evening was the red Honda used by the group to abduct Davantes. The vehicle was spotted on a closed-circuit television camera entering Moonwalk Village seven minutes before Davantes arrived in her own car on Sept. 7. Around 10 minutes later, her vehicle was seen being driven out of the subdivision, followed closely by the red Honda, Laxa said.
The car and the house on Emerald Street in Camella Homes, Pamplona 3, Las Piñas, which Decimo earlier told the police served as a hiding place for the group, belonged to Shiela Marie Villa.
It turned out that Jomar Pepito, another suspect in the case who had yet to be caught, was the driver and errand boy of Villa, who had left the vehicle and house in his care, Laxa said.
Villa, who had already been investigated by the police, told them that she sometimes asked Pepito to drive her children to and from school. She did not have any idea he was using her car for his own illegal activities, Laxa added.
Police also quoted Villa as saying that she and her family had moved out of the house in Camella Homes because it had been without electricity for about a month.
The fuel-soaked clothes found in Davantes’ car also belonged to Villa’s children, the police found out. Earlier, investigators speculated that the perpetrators tried to use the children’s clothes, which had been dipped in diesel, to set fire to the victim’s vehicle.
Police said they were still looking for Pepito and two other suspects identified only as Joric and Basher.
When presented to media, Diel admitted to taking part in abducting and robbing Davantes although he maintained he had no hand in killing her.
“We didn’t expect we would end up killing Kae,” he said. He confirmed Decimo’s earlier confession that they took Davantes after she alighted from her car in front of her house. He said they arrived in the red Honda.
“Joric pointed the gun at Kae and ordered her to get into her car. He gave me the keys and told me to drive it. Near Tagaytay, we stopped to talk about what to do [with her],” Diel said.
“At first, it was just [Pepito], Decimo and Joric while I was left in the car with Kae. Then Joric ordered me to go talk to [Pepito]. I didn’t agree [with the decision to kill her]. I really didn’t want to. I told them ‘It’s up to you, but I don’t want to be a part of it,’” Diel added.
He said Pepito and Decimo then took over Davantes’ car while he was tasked to drive the Honda. “I was behind them so I didn’t know what they were doing. But when we got to Silang and our car drove past them, that’s when I saw them dump her body off the bridge,” Diel said.
After the deed, near Daanghari, Cavite, Diel said he was again tasked to take Davantes’ car. He added that he drove it to Batangas province in an attempt to hide it but within the day, the group took it back to Camella Homes where it was eventually found by investigators.
Laxa said Enriquez had admitted to them that the firearm they used to scare Davantes was a toy gun.
Enriquez, however, claimed he was not involved in any way in the crime. “I don’t know anything about the crime. They’re just linking me to the others,” he told reporters before he was taken away.
“All of this will still be validated, but we are, one by one, eliminating angles in this crime,” Laxa said, adding that they had discarded the theory that Davantes’ killing was a crime of passion.
Originally posted: 2:02 pm | Sunday, September 22nd, 2013