‘Confessed killer’ of Cebu teen arrested
CEBU CITY — It was a case of social media catfishing gone bloody wrong.
Police on Thursday presented Renato “Ren-Ren” Payupan Llenes, the confessed killer of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan, detailing how he stabbed her and peeled off her skin with a pair of scissors that ended her life.
In social media jargon, catfishing is the use of other people’s profile other than yours, usually to lure someone into a relationship.
According to the police, Llenes, 43, admitted the crime, saying he duped Silawan into believing he was the “younger-looking guy” she met on Facebook.
He became obsessed with the teenager and later killed her when they met on March 9, police said.
Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, said Llenes would be charged with illegal possession of firearms and violating the gun ban after policemen seized a .45-caliber pistol from him when they went to his house in Lapu-Lapu City on Tuesday.
Murder charges would be filed against the suspect for Silawan’s death once all pieces of evidence were consolidated, Albayalde said in a press briefing at the police regional office at Camp Sergio Osmeña.
Llenes appeared at the briefing with lawyer Manuel Degolacion Jr., who was also present when the suspect executed an extrajudicial confession after his arrest in the afternoon of April 9.
In an interview, Llenes said he knew Silawan only on Facebook through his fake account “C.J. Diaz.”
According to the police, it was Silawan who added Llenes’ fake account.
The suspect courted the victim and what followed was a series of exchanges of romantic messages.
When they finally met at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Church grounds, Llenes introduced himself as C.J. Diaz, which shocked Silawan because he was “nowhere near the pictures he posted on Facebook.”
They argued until they reached the vacant lot at Barangay Bangkal in Lapu-Lapu City where the victim was found dead.
“I stabbed her with a pair of scissors and peeled off her skin so she won’t be recognized,” Llenes said in Cebuano.
“I admitted everything. I was alone when I killed her,” he added.
High on drugs
Llenes also said he was high on drugs and that he got jealous of Silawan’s boyfriend.
The police said Llenes learned how to scrape off skin through social media sites Facebook, YouTube and the “Momo Challenge” video.
After disfiguring Silawan’s face, he took the victim’s bag and threw the peeled-off skin a few meters from the crime scene.
“I would like to ask for forgiveness from Silawan’s family. My conscience is bothering me,” said Llenes, who was detained at the Lapu-Lapu City police office.
Albayalde said he was pleased by the developments and that those responsible for tracking down the suspect might be promoted.
Silawan’s half-naked body was found with 30 stab wounds on March 11. Half of her face was gone while her organs in the neck area were removed.
Five days later, the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Silawan’s former boyfriend, also a teenager, who denied the allegation.
The NBI, however, filed murder charges against the suspect, who is under the custody of a home-care facility of Lapu-Lapu’s social welfare and development office.
NBI case stays
In a separate interview, Tomas Enrile, NBI regional director, said the case against the teenager would proceed, saying that “the arrest of another suspect will not affect our case.”
It would be up to the prosecutor’s office to decide based on the evidence they presented, Enrile said.
He nonetheless welcomed the arrest of Llenes.
“We have been sharing notes with the police so this is a positive development,” Enrile said.
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