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Saturday, May 25, 2019
CEBU

Bzzzzz: Theory on manner of Christine's murder evolves as speculations are modified, from one interview to another with police medico-legal chief; Duterte scoffs at cult, serial slay theories

CEBU. Lourdes Silawan, mother of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan, who was killed in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City. (Allan Cuizon)

PEOPLE are talking about...

* RAMON TULFO'S MIDDLE-FINGER. The TV anchor and newspaper columnist, who is also "special envoy" to China, is getting a lot of flak from the labor sector and its defenders and advocates. Earlier, he called Filipino construction workers lazy and "slowpoke," compared to the "hardworking" Chinese counterparts to justify the foreigners' presence in the country and doing the jobs that would've gone to Pinoys.

When asked Wednesday (March 13) that Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, among others, asked for his resignation, he raised his middle finger, caught by the TV as he did so.

He said he referred only to the local construction workers, not to those working abroad. That would still be about 3.8 million domestic workers in the construction industry. Don't you wonder how local and foreign building laborers could be so stereotyped, as lazy and not lazy?

* THE FORGIVING MOTHER. The reported change of Christine Silawan's mother, from a vengeful woman whose daughter was savagely murdered to someone who would now rather have the culprits serve time in prison. It's the netizens in some social sites who continue to cry for blood.

Identify the changes

If there are some contradictions and changes in the details of news reports about the forensic findings in the murder of Christine Silawan, the 16-year-old student whose body was found last March 11 at a vacant lot in Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City, it might be because the medico-legal officer has given many interviews to news outlets and the data given tend to differ or evolve during the news cycle.

Last Wednesday (March 13) morning, Superintendent Benjamin Lara talked on air with a dyMF (Bombo) radio anchor, then later held a press conference. Separately, he had also given interviews to other news outlets such as SunStar and The Freeman. Examples of "discrepancies" among the news stories of the media outlets:

* NUMBER OF STAB WOUNDS. Lara mentioned 20 wounds, then later raised the number to include nine in the arms and one in the neck. Thus, some media consumers say 20, while others say 30.

* USE OF ACID ON THE FACE. Lara said it was "possible" a "corrosive substance" such as acid was used on Christine's face. The Bombo anchor pointed out that the eyes were not damaged, so it couldn't have been acid (as some of it would've spilled into that part of the face). Lara said that maybe the perpetrators covered the girl's eyes. Later, in other interviews, he "ruled out" the "corrosive substance" theory.

* THE FACE-SKINNING. So he initially sowed doubt on the skinning of the face but seemed to debunk that in a later interview by saying the work in slicing off the skin from the face was clean and efficient, indicating that someone with training on butchering or surgery must have done it.

* REMOVAL OF BODY PARTS. When asked at first about some body parts missing, Lara said dogs, cats, and insects must have preyed on the body. In a subsequent interview, the doctor minimized the probability as slim.

Evolving, changing

Apparently, the medical theory is evolving, partly based on initial examination of the corpse, partly on speculations and guesses. Theories are explored and modified or dumped as the conversation in media goes on.

Media may do well to advise their consumers in cautioning on the accuracy about details that are being released in bits and pieces on the murder of Christine. The reporting is mostly accurate. It's the information that's changing.

Work of serial killer or cult?

President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday (March 14) scoffed at the theory that a cult might have murdered Christine. He had a reason to do so -- aside from the fact that for his drug campaign he would want to pin it on drug addicts. There is no basis, no connection whatsoever between a killing in a mountain barangay in Danao City last January (where a farmer was reportedly skinned from his chest up to his face) and the Silawan murder.

It was, yes, "possible" but so far-out a theory for now.

Another wild theory is that it was the work of a serial killer or a spree murderer, who is a "a person who commits a series of murders, often with no apparent motive and typically following a characteristic, predictable behavior pattern." The FBI meaning of spree murders is two or more murders, committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period. Anyone offering the idea of a serial killer or killers in the Christine murder has to give more than the "possibility" of the Danao killers being the Lapu-Lapu "perps."

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