THE family of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan denied knowing Jonas Martel Bueno. They said they never met him when she was still alive.
An online news agency had named Bueno as the primary suspect in Christine’s brutal murder last March 11, but Police Regional Office (PRO) 7, during a press conference last Friday afternoon, March 15, said Bueno was neither a suspect or a person of interest.
The PRO in Davao Region, though, said Bueno, who was arrested in Davao City last Friday, was a suspect in the murder of Trinidad Batucan.
The 60-year-old farmer’s mutilated body was found inside his house in Danao City, Cebu last January.
Christine’s sister Lousiline, 21, said they couldn’t remember ever meeting Bueno or getting acquainted with him.
“If the police do arrest a suspect, we hope he turns out to be the person who murdered my sister,” Christine said in Cebuano.
The family earlier said they wouldn’t bury the teenager until the perpetrators were in police custody.
Last Friday, lawyer Persida Acosta of the Public Attorney’s Office accompanied the Silawans to the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office.
Dante Gimenez of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption also visited Christine’s wake at the Silawan residence in Sitio Soong in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City with TV host Cory Quirino and film director Carlo Caparas to extend their condolences.
“Christine has become a rallying symbol to all women, a tragic reminder that crimes against women and children will not be tolerated. It must stop and it must be prevented.” said Quirino, herself a kidnap victim.
Gimenez said because of the barbarity Christine suffered in the hands of her killers, there was a growing clamor to reinstate the death penalty.
He appealed to legislators to bring back capital punishment.
But even with Christine’s heinous murder, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said reviving the death penalty would not solve crimes.
“It is enough to inflict penalty upon criminals but not to the extent that we will revive the death penalty. For the Catholic Church, this is not a solution to deterring crime,” Palma said, adding that doing so would only set the country back.
Saddened by Christine’s death, Palma hoped her killers’ conscience would haunt them into surrendering to authorities.
He also prayed that the Silawan family would achieve justice.
“It is normal for people to die. In a sense, we are bound to die someday. But to die the same manner as her, it is truly sad, especially for the community surrounding her,” Palma told reporters during the launching of the Pagsangyaw 2021 on Saturday, March 16.
He said he was relieved that some groups helped raised the P2-million cash reward to anyone who might have information that would lead to Christine’s real murderers. FROM SCG AND FVQ OF SUPERBALITA CEBU / JKV / VLA