Camilon case: Cop exec says sorry to PNP chief
The police major allegedly behind the disappearance of an aspiring beauty queen in Batangas province apologized to the chief of the Philippine National Police on Wednesday for dragging the name of the organization in his personal affairs.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said he presented Maj. Allan de Castro to PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. at his office in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Wednesday morning. Acorda wanted to be updated on the progress of the case, which hounded his supposedly quiet retirement on Dec. 3.
“During the meeting, De Castro admitted that he knows [Catherine] Camilon. According to him, they had—shall we say—an illicit relationship, because De Castro is a married man,” Caramat told reporters.
According to the chief of the CIDG, which is leading the investigation of Camilon’s disappearance, Acorda told De Castro “to man up and face his personal problem” after the latter apologized.
However, when asked by his superiors if he had any involvement in the disappearance of Camilon, De Castro invoked his right to remain silent.
“We could not force him to say if he knows anything because we respect his constitutional rights by invoking his right to remain silent,” Caramat said.
Meanwhile, the family of Camilon agreed to give their DNA samples to be crossmatched with the “17 hair strands and 12 swabs of blood samples” found by investigators inside the red Honda CRV found unattended at a vacant lot in Barangay Dumuclay, Batangas City, on Nov. 9.
“If the DNA sample from any of the family members of Camilon matched with any of the samples found in the abandoned vehicle then we are very certain that the bloodied person seen by witnesses inside a red Honda CRV was indeed Camilon,” Caramat said.
On Nov. 6, two witnesses surfaced and told the CIDG that they saw a bloodied Camilon being transferred by three men from a gray Nissan Juke into a red Honda CRV on the night of Oct. 12, when they passed by a subdivision in Bauan town.
The CIDG confirmed that it was Jefrey Magpantay, De Castro’s driver and bodyguard, who confronted the witnesses at gunpoint and ordered them to leave the area immediately.
“We are still hoping that we can still find Camilon alive,” Caramat said. “But with the number of days that passed since she went missing, the probability that she is alive becomes slimmer. If she was alive, she could have already communicated with her family.”
“But I am also a parent. We do not lose hope that we will see her alive,” he added.
The CIDG still classifies Camilon, 26, a contestant in the recently concluded Miss Grand Philippines 2023, as a “missing person.”
The CIDG’s Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional field unit filed a complaint for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, for violation of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, against De Castro, Magpantay and two other unidentified suspects in the Batangas Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.
The prosecutor has 10 days to evaluate whether the complaint referred by the CIDG had sufficient evidence to proceed to a preliminary investigation.
“If we find additional evidence in the coming days, these will not preclude us from filing additional cases or at least upgrade the case to another offense,” according to PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo.
It was De Castro whom Camilon was supposed to meet on the day she went missing on Oct. 12.
Camilon left their house in Tuy town for Batangas City on board a Nissan Juke (plate NEI 2990). She was last seen inside a shopping mall in Lemery town around 7 p.m. on Oct. 12. After this, Camilon told her mother that she was at a gasoline station in Bauan. There have been no updates from her since then.
De Castro, the deputy chief of the Batangas provincial police drug enforcement unit, is now restricted to the Calabarzon police headquarters in Laguna.
“The suspect Major De Castro might have gotten mad when Camilon reported to his wife that he was seeing another woman,” said CIDG Calabarzon regional field unit chief Col. Jacinto Malinao Jr.