‘Worst’ feared as beauty queen remains missing
LUCENA CITY—Investigators feared the “worst” has happened to aspiring beauty queen Catherine Camilon amid allegations about the “violent nature” of the police officer she was “in a relationship” with and who has now been charged for her disappearance.
“Considering she was last seen last Oct. 12, we are still hoping for the best. And realistically, we are also expecting the worst,” said Police Col. Jacinto Malinao Jr., chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 4A (CIDG-4A) in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region, in a phone interview on Tuesday.
When pressed further for information about Camilon’s fate and whereabouts, Malinao replied: “It is still negative.”
Camilon, 26, a contestant in the recently concluded Miss Grand Philippines 2023, is still classified as a “missing person” by the CIDG-4A, the lead agency in the investigation on the case, even as complaints for kidnapping and illegal detention have been lodged against Police Maj. Allan de Castro, his personal driver and bodyguard Jefrey Magpantay, and two other John Does before the Batangas Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Monday afternoon.
Investigators had previously said that a police officer was the “person of interest” in Camilon’s missing case but it was only on Monday when De Castro was identified, alongside the filing of a complaint against him.
De Castro, the deputy chief of the Batangas provincial police drug enforcement unit, is now restricted to the Calabarzon police headquarters in Laguna.
Malinao said De Castro continued to insist on his innocence and maintained he did not know the whereabouts of Camilon, who went missing while driving a gray Nissan Juke car from her home in Tuy town in Batangas province to Batangas City on Oct. 12.
According to Col. Jean Fajardo, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police, the prosecutor would have 10 days to evaluate whether the complaint referred by the CIDG had sufficient evidence to proceed to a preliminary investigation.
“The [CIDG-RFU4A] is preparing other documents to support the case they have filed. We filed a kidnapping case because the victim was reported missing from Oct. 12 and until today, we are still uncertain whether she is still alive or not,” Fajardo said at press briefing in Camp Crame.
According to Malinao, De Castro is allegedly “capable of committing violence,” as the police officer would sometimes inflict physical harm on Camilon, based on accounts of the woman’s friends.
“He became furious when allegedly Catherine reported to his wife that he has another woman,” Malinao said in the interview.
He added: “We also have the exchange of messages between Camilon and her friend that sometimes, when De Castro is drunk, she would go home with bruises in her body.”
Malinao said that based on their investigation and initial evaluation of the Department of Justice provincial prosecutor in Batangas, De Castro was the person Camilon was going to meet on the day of her disappearance.
Hair strands, blood
Magpantay, De Castro’s driver, was later identified to be one of the three men chanced upon by two witnesses while the three were transferring a blooded and unconscious woman from a gray Nissan Juke to a red Honda CRV at the vicinity of Bauan town on the night of Oct. 12.It was Magpantay who pointed a gun at the two witnesses and told them to leave the area, Malinao said.
Camilon’s last text message to her mother before she went missing was that she was at a gas station in Bauan, investigators had said.
Malinao said they were still trying to identify the two John Does and their links to De Castro.
On Nov. 9, a red Honda CR-V was found unattended at a vacant lot in Barangay Dumuclay, Batangas City without its plate numbers and conduction sticker.
Citing a report from the police crime laboratory, Malinao disclosed that the investigators found “17 hair strands and 12 swabs of blood samples” inside the vehicle.
He said the investigators immediately sought the help of Camilon’s family to obtain their DNA samples to compare with the blood found in the vehicle “but they declined to provide the specimen in the meantime.”
“We understand that. However, they said they are willing to give once they are ready,” Malinao said.
He said the registered owner of the Honda CR-V was located but the latter claimed he sold the vehicle in 2013. The vehicle’s ownership history is being investigated by the Highway Patrol Group, he added.
Camilon’s older sister, Chin-Chin Manguera Camilon, welcomed the release of De Castro’s identity during the PNP’s press conference in Camp Crame on Monday.
“Eto na pinangalanan na, sa sunod ikaw na yung hindi matatahimik (Now that you are finally named, it’s your turn to lose your peace of mind),” said Chin-Chin in a Facebook post on Tuesday. INQ