Cebu kidnap-slay suspect enters not guilty plea-A A +A
Monday, October 24, 2011
CEBU CITY (2nd update, 3 p.m.) -- Bella Ruby Santos, the woman accused of killing a six-year-old girl in Naga City, Cebu last February, entered a not guilty plea during her arraignment on Monday.
Santos, who is facing kidnapping with homicide charge along with her British boyfriend, Ian Charles Griffiths, faced arraignment Monday at the Regional Trial Court branch 6 in Cebu City.
Clad in yellow shirt, white slacks and a pair of white robber shoes, Santos arrived at the Palace of Justice past 8 a.m. Monday. She was accompanied by jail guards from the Naga City jail, family members, and supporters.
She was assisted by her lawyers Rameses Villagonzalo, Ronel Ubod, Lyndon Maceren and Julius Ceasar Entise during the arraignment.
The arraignment came 17 days after Santos was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at a mall in Pasig City. She turned fugitive after the court issued an order for her arrest.
Santos and Griffiths are accused of kidnapping with homicide for the death of Ellah Joy Pique.
The couple allegedly abducted Pique last February 8 outside her school in Calajoan, Minglanilla, Cebu. The girl's lifeless body was found the next day at the bottom of a cliff near Sayaw Beach in Barili town, more than 40 kilometers away from home.
Police theorized that Santos and Griffiths took the girl to use her in an online sex operation.
Earlier, the Office of the Naga City Prosecutor dismissed the child pornography charge lodged against Santos for lack of evidence.
Naga City Prosecutor Napoleon Alburo said the complaint the police filed wouldn’t survive trial.
The child pornography case was an offshoot of the raid the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) conducted on Santos’s home in Naga at the height of the agency’s investigation on the abduction and killing of Pique.
Santos is now detained at the Naga City jail while the kidnapping with homicide case against her and British boyfriend is being tried. (Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)