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PNP bares ‘breakthrough’ in slain Cebu teen’s murder



A conversation between Christine Silawan, the 16-year-old girl who was found dead Monday with her face skinned, exposing her skull, in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu and an unnamed personality now considered as a person-of-interest was discovered by investigators in a cellular phone retrieved from one of her relatives, the Philippine National Police revealed yesterday.

Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said the discovery of the exchange of messages between Silawan and the person-of-interest was the first major breakthrough in the case.

Banac said the background information on the person-of-interest has yet to be relayed to the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City by the Special Investigation Task Group which was formed for the speedy resolution of the case.

“According to the SITG, a cellphone was recovered from one of the victim’s relatives. There were conversations found in the cellphone that gave the investigators some leads,” Banac said. “The cellphone is owned by the relative. Probabaly, the victim borrowed it prior to the incident. When she returned the phone, the conversation remained and the person she last talked to is now considered a person-of-interest,” he added.

According to Banac, all the information about the person-of-interest was being collated by the Central Visayas Police Regional Office.

A manhunt operation is being conducted to locate the person-of-interest, he said.

Senior Supt. Lemuel Obon, Lapu-Lapu City police chief, said investigators were hot on the trail against three suspects.

The supposed name and picture of the person-of-interest are now circulating in social media but Banac appealed to the public not to believe everything that are being posted in the Web.

“The name and the picture that was posted in the Internet didn’t come from the SITG. They wouldn’t release information because a manhunt operation is now on-going against the person-of-interest and they don’t want to jeopardize that,” Banac stressed.

Obon asked the public, especially the media, to observe restraint and be patient after the name and picture of the person-of-interest was made public.

Obon denied that they have identified Jonas Bueno as Silawan’s killer. “That’s fake news,” said Obon.

“We have yet to release or divulge the identity of any suspect because we don’t want to comprise our operations. We are still pursuing the perpetrators. If there’s someone who should release information regarding the identity of the suspects, it should be me,” Obon said.

Banac said that the suspects behind Silawan’s death could have been “psychological maniacs” and drug-crazed people.
“There are criminals who are psychological maniacs that’s why they are able to commit these kinds of brutal and senseless killings. The suspects behind this case might be considered one but these are all just circumstantial,” he explained.

“It may also be related to drug abuse. For persons who have psychological disorder and are drug-crazed, if you combine those two, then it is not impossible for them to do grim killings like this case,” he added. (With reports from Calvin D. Cordova)