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One of Christine’s killers identified

SILAWAN

SILAWAN

CEBU CITY – Police have identified one of three suspects in the gruesome murder of a 16-year-old girl and described him as armed and dangerous.

“He is very elusive. It’s hard to track him down because he has acquired police and military trainings but he is not a former member of the government security forces,” said Senior Supt. Limuel Obon, chief of the Lapu-Lapu City police.

The suspect is facing murder charges for his involvement in several killings in Cebu, Obon said. The police official, however, declined to name the main suspect pending his imminent arrest.

Meanwhile, the reward money for information that could lead to the arrest of the three suspects has reached P2 million.

On Thursday, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino visited the wake of Christine Lee Silawan and offered P100,000 bounty in addition to the P100,000 pledged by Philippine Postal Corp. chairman Norman Fulgencio.

The other pledges came from the Lapu-Lapu City government (P1 million), an American retiree based in Ormoc City (P500,000), the Cebu Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (P200,000), and the Police Regional Advisory Council (P100,000).

Dino also handed to Silawan’s family the P20,000 cash assistance from the Office of the President on top of the P50,000 given by the Cebu provincial government.

“I condemn in the strongest sense the gruesome murder of Christine Lee Silawan. No person in their right mind would commit such an act; and no person, least of all an innocent young girl, should be made to suffer so brutally. This killing is only seen in the most perverse and sick of horror movies, and never should have happened in real life, least of all right here in our own backyard,” said Dino.

The murder has caused a stir here and abroad and sparked speculations on the motive behind the gruesome killing.

One such angle being talked about is that Silawan may have been a victim of a cult allegedly operating in the mountains of Carmen and Danao.

Silawan’s case was not the first in Cebu. Last Jan. 11, a 60-year-old man in Danao City was also killed brutally after his face was skinned to the bone and his heart removed. The victim was identified as Trinidad Batucan.

Three brothers, Junrey, Juvy, and Jonas Bueno were identified as suspects in the Danao killing. The suspects were allegedly members of a cult and former members of the New People’s Army.

Junrey and Juvy were killed in a police operation last Jan. 13, while Jonas remains at large. Police said the three brothers were wanted for murder charges.

Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, chief of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), is not discounting the possibility that the two cases were related.

“There is a probability but so far we don’t have evidence yet that would connect the two incidents in Danao and Lapu-Lapu City,” Abrugena said.

Abrugena said the Danao and Lapu-Lapu police are coordinating to find out if the two cases are related.

The CPPO chief admitted that they have received reports that there is a cult operating in the mountains of Carmen and Danao.

“That’s what we heard but we have yet to confirm this. Allegedly, they dismember the muscles of their victims and they are consuming it,” said Abrugena.

Silawan was found Monday with a flayed face. Her trachea, esophagus, and tongue are also missing. (Calvin Cordova)

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