PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde has clarified that the 17-year-old accused in the brutal killing of Christine Lee Silawan is not off the hook despite his release.
“The court had no choice but to let him go because his arrest didn’t fall on warrantless arrest and hot pursuit operation. But it didn’t mean he was not guilty,” Albayalde said in Tagalog during a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday, March 25.
Last Friday, March 22, the prosecutor’s office ordered the local social welfare and development office to release John (not his real name), citing his arrest by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 last March 16 was invalid.
John was set free a few hours before Silawan was laid to rest last Saturday, March 23.
The teen was found dead, with her face skinned, on March 11 in Barangay Bankal in Lapu-Lapu City.
Albayalde said John’s arrest was not covered by the principle of warrantless arrest or hot pursuit operation, which should be conducted immediately after the crime was committed, as he was only taken into custody six days after Silawan was murdered.
Albayalde ordered local police to continue coordinating and helping the NBI, which spearheaded the investigation.
Meanwhile, Lourdes Pardillo, Silawan’s mother, doubted she would ever get justice for her daughter’s brutal slaying.
“Wa’y malipay nga ang iyang anak gipatay nga wa’y sala. Grabeng pagpatay. Unya, in-ana lang sa dakong higayon ug hitabo nga nabuhian lang diha dayon (No parent would feel happy that her child was brutally killed for no apparent reason. And then the accused could just walk off like that),” she said.
John was charged with murder last week. His case was placed under regular preliminary investigation, which allowed his lawyer Vincent Isles to file a counter-affidavit to refute the allegations against him.
Isles also filed a motion to quash the search warrant issued by Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas.
The NBI 7 used the warrant to look for evidence inside John’s house. The agents then arrested John without an arrest warrant.
Pardillo, though, remained hopeful the authorities would solve the case. (SunStar Philippines with GCM of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL)