NBI: Bone found in BuCor septic tank ‘consistent with a chicken leg bone’
MANILA, Philippines — The bone found inside a septic tank within the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) is “not of human origin” as it is “consistent with a chicken leg bone,” the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Tuesday.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Dir. Gen. Gregorio Capatang Jr. told a Senate hearing that missing inmate Michael Angelo Cataroja – whose remains were believed to have been found in the septic tank, based on earlier reports – may have actually escaped.
NBI medico-legal officer, Dr. Annalyne Dadiz, said the conclusion that the bone was “not of human origin” was made after a process of forensic identification.
Dadiz explained that the bone was found lumped together with a piece of underwear, a lighter, and a razor.
“We have the following items … we have one piece of bone, not of human origin, one brief or underwear, and a razor,” Dadiz said at the hearing conducted by the Senate committee on justice and human rights led by Senator Francis Tolentino,
“Hindi po buto ng tao (It was not a human’s bone). We conducted the process of forensic identification. Through this process, we made an elimination and comparison and we concluded that this is not a human bone,” she added.
“In all likelihood, through the process of comparison, it is consistent with a chicken leg bone,” Dadiz continued.
When asked why it seemed larger in the photo, Dadiz explained that it might have only been zoomed out, as it was equal in size to a typical chicken bone.
Dadiz further said they could not identify the owner or the source of the other materials through forensic identification.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla previously claimed that the remains of Cataroja – reported missing on July 15 – were found inside the septic tank of BuCor.
But during a House public order and safety committee probe, former BuCor Deputy Director Angelina Bautista called Remulla’s pronouncement “fake news” because only a bone and other materials were discovered in the septic tank.
Cataroja escaped out of Bilibid?
In Tuesday’s same hearing, Catapang told senators that Cataroja may have escaped. He even noted the missing inmate’s skills being a car thief.
“Malaki ang kutob ko na nakatakas. Kasi si Cataroja magnanakaw ng mga sasakyan, kaya niya mangalikot, so may tiyansa na nakalusot,” said Catapang.
(I have a hunch that [he] escaped. Because Cataroja steals cars, he can pull tricks, so he possibly got through.)
“Maliit po ito na tao eh, kayang ilagay na sa sako na maliit na akala ay basura…,” he added.
(He’s a small guy, you can fit [him] in a small sack that one would think it’s just trash.)
Senator Bato Dela Rosa, for his part, chided Catapang over his theory, underscoring the probability that Cataroja could have escaped the NBP’s Maximum Security Compound.
“Kung si Cataroja ay posibleng nakalayas, this is [the] maximum security compound, ‘pag sinabing maximum talagang in or out [binabantayan],” dela Rosa, a former head of BuCor, said.
(If Cataroja could have escaped, this is [the] maximum security compound when you say maximum, it’s really [guarded] in or out.)
“Pati nga tangke noong panahon ko, pati tangke ng truck pinatutusok-tusok ko pa ‘yan eh. Meaning there is some degree of laxity in the inspection of trucks delivering in or out, baka kailangan mag-improve,” he added.
(Even a tank during my time, even the tank of the truck tank, I ordered to poke it. Meaning the inspection of trucks delivering in or out of the facility is lax. Maybe there’s a necessity to improve.)
Catapang consequently promised to tighten security within and around the NBP.