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Hearing of Campbell slay case moved back to Banaue today

By Melvin Gascon
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 23:50:00 04/07/2008

Filed Under: Crime, Law & Justice,Regional authorities

LAGAWE, IFUGAO ? The search for justice on the killing of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell is coming back home to Banaue today, exactly a year after her death in that town.

The trial for the Campbell killing is set to resume today as the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 holds trial at its permanent sala at the old municipal hall.

The trial of lone accused Juan Donald Duntugan, along with other cases handled by the RTC, has been held at the old provincial board building at the capitol compound here due to the lack of a suitable building to serve as courthouse in Banaue.

By sheer coincidence, the hearing resumes on Campbell?s first death anniversary today. The hearing was originally set for April 7 but it was rescheduled after President Macapagal-Arroyo declared Monday a holiday.

?Maybe it is symbolic that we are bringing back the hearing to Banaue on [Campbell?s] death anniversary because we are also nearing the conclusion of this case,? said Judge Ester Piscoso-Flor.

Campbell was killed on April 8, 2007, Easter Sunday, while trekking alone in Batad village, about 10 kilometers from the town proper. She was allegedly attacked by Duntugan along a trail leading to a ridge overlooking the famed Batad rice terraces.

Campbell, an English teacher based in Albay, visited Banaue during last year?s Holy Week. She was reported missing until her decomposing body was found 10 days later by tour guides who helped in the search.

Duntugan, 25, a Batad native, surrendered to police on April 27, 2007.

During the police investigation, he admitted killing Campbell in a supposed fit of blind rage. He said he hit her with a rock after he mistook her for his enemy, one Emiliano Blas, whom he described as a village bully.

Duntugan, who has been detained at the Kiangan district jail since his surrender, entered a plea of ?not guilty.?



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