Baguio massacre suspect faces 5 murder charges

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


RELATIVES of victims in the Kayang massacre stormed the Baguio City Police Office Wednesday night to see Philip Avino, the suspect tagged in the slaying of five people Sunday.

Relatives of Jonalyn Lozano, Dave John De Guzman and Raymond Del Mendo all wanted to take a glimpse of Avino.

Emotions tipped as police brought out the suspect prompting the victims' families to shout curses at Avino.

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Dominador De Guzman, father of Dave, said he was shocked to see his son Sunday afternoon, conscious but bloodied after suffering eight stab wounds. Despite efforts to revive Dave, the child never made it to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center alive.

De Guzman related Dave and Raymond were invited by Vilma Nociete, mother of two other victims, Jacqueline and Joey, to accompany her youngest son.

"Ang batang yan napakabait. Hindi namin alam bakit siya kinuha sa amin," Josefina Quinto said referring to her grandson Dave.

Imelda Solbito, mother of Del Mendo, meantime, said they want justice and for police to determine whether or not there were accomplices to the crime.

"Dapat sa kanya ibartolina, kung ano ang kinuha niya sa amin, yun din sana ang kapalit. Bitay sana hatol sa kanya," Solbito said.

BCPO acting director Senior Superintendent Rolando Miranda said they trust the evidence gathered against the suspect including testimonies of witnesses gathered by their intelligence teams.

"Sinong suspect ang aamin sa kanyang kasalanan? Sasabihin niya frame-up pero lahat ng ebidensya nagtuturo sa kanya.We are confident that we have a solid case against him," Miranda said.

After inquest proceedings which started around 7 p.m., Avino kept mum and instead clasped his hands as if in prayer.

"Pagod na po ako," he said while covering his face as reporters tried to get his comments.

But when asked to disclose information on his alleged frame up, he answered, "No comment."

"Puntahan nila ako dito at tulungan," he said when asked on what he wants to tell his family.

Scene of the Crime Operatives report show Avino has bruises in his hand, which to investigators is a sign he may have used a blunt object in stabbing the victims.

Police on Thursday filed five counts of murder against Avino before the City Prosecutors Office before turned over for detention.

But police sources said Avino is being kept in a safe house and guarded by Special Weapons and Tactics personnel due to security threats.

Avino is expected to stay in the safe house until PNP finds a suitable detention center.

Miranda also stressed anew it is only Mayor Mauricio Domogan who may decide whether or not the bounty of P100,000 will be rewarded to the suspect’s relative who supposedly brokered the surrender of Avino.

The police chief, meanwhile, revealed they uncovered a standing warrant of arrest against the suspect for allegations of rape in 2010 in Sta. Mesa in Manila.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 11, 2014.

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