3 ‘armed, dangerous’ men hunted in Cebu teen slay
Police were hunting three men who they believed were responsible for the murder on Sunday of 16-year-old Christine Silawan, a Grade 9 student at a high school in Lapu-Lapu City.
“It is just a matter of time before (the suspects) will be arrested. These three men are armed and dangerous. My instruction to my men is to get them alive as much as possible,” Senior Supt. Limuel Obon, city police director, said on Wednesday.
He declined to give details, including the motive, since he said they were “still conducting a deeper investigation.”
“I hope I can tell everything now, like why and who killed Christine, but we have to withhold some information so as not to hamper our operations,” he said.
Obon admitted that Silawan was not a random victim. He said the perpetrators already had an interest on the teenager and planned the crime.
But it was unlikely that she had a relationship with one of the perpetrators, he said.
A group of businessmen has offered a P100,000 reward to anyone who could give information on the murder.
In Manila, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said he would make sure that the killers of Silawan “get the retribution that they deserve.”
But he would not say whether he was amenable to reinstate the death penalty. He said he would give his official position once a proposed law restoring the death penalty was filed.
“For now I can only condemn this hideous crime and promise to use all the power within my disposal to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime get the retribution that they deserve,” Guevarra said.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. disagreed with reinstating the death penalty but called for tougher measures against crimes. “This is no ordinary killing but a signal from the forces of evil. We need a wider war on crime,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
The mutilated body of Silawan, a student at Maribago National High School in Lapu-Lapu City, was found on a vacant lot in Barangay Bangkal there on Monday.
Part of the teenager’s face was flayed, exposing her skull.
The autopsy showed that she died from 30 stab wounds in the neck and body. Her tongue, trachea, esophagus and parts of her neck and her right ear were missing.
The murder has baffled authorities in Cebu.
Although she was naked from the waist down, Supt. Benjamin Lara, medicolegal officer of the regional police’s crime laboratory in Cebu, said they didn’t find fresh laceration on her private parts that might indicate she was raped.
“To be honest, this is the first time I’ve encountered (such a case),” said Lara who had been working in the crime lab for at least 15 years.
Silawan left her house in Barangay Mactan on Sunday to go to Mass at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish where she was a volunteer church collector.
Her mother, Lourdes, started to worry when her eldest daughter failed to come home. Lourdes’ sister then went to the police to report that her niece was missing.
The next day, passers-by were shocked to find the body of the young woman dumped on a vacant lot in Barangay Bangkal.
Her mother identified her through her shirt, wristwatch and her bracelet. —With a report from Dale Israel
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