THE Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Bragas identified five persons of interest (POIs) behind architect Vlanche Marie Bragas’ death last May 17.
“The latest was meron tayong iniimbestigahang (we are currently investigating) 5 POIs or Persons of Interest,” Police Regional Office - Davao Region (PRO-Davao) spokesperson Eudisan Gultiano said during the AFP-PNP Press Corps press conference, May 24.
However, Gultiano did not provide further details on the POIs as it might “preempt” the current investigation.
She also said it was also difficult to identify the suspect or suspects’ physical appearance because of how blurred CCTV footage they have.
“But, our police is backtracking all the possible na dinaanan nitong bao-bao at lahat ng mga yun ay niri-review yung mga CCTV (paths that the bao-bao had traversed and all of them are being reviewed through the CCTV footage),” Gultiano said.
The spokesperson said based on their investigation, there was another passenger who rode the bao-bao before Bragas rode it. The passenger prior to Bragas hailed the bao-bao in Teachers’ Village in Calinan and was dropped off near a fast-food restaurant in Calinan.
Shortly after the passenger got off, approximately one to two minutes later, Bragas was picked up by the same bao-bao driver.
Gultiano encouraged the passenger prior to Bragas to appear before the Calinan Police to testify and to help the task group identify the driver of the bao-bao.
“Therefore, may possibilities po na na identify nung pasahero bago tung biktima yung itsura nong driver na yun kasi walang putol, kasi ibig sabihin talaga na sya ang huling pasahero bago ang biktima (It is possible that the passenger had already identified what the driver looked like before that baobao picked up the victim),” Gultiano said.
“Wag ka pong matakot dahil (Do not be afraid because) we will protect you. And kapag lumapit ka (And if you approach us), you are not considered as suspect, we just want your help kasi I'm sure sa period na sumakay ka sa ano [bao-bao] baka na identify mo yung mukha (when you rode the bao-bao, surely you have identified the bao-bao driver’s facial appearance),” Gultiano added.
Gultiano also said they are looking at the possibility that there are either one or two perpetrators of the crime.
“Ang possibilities nako (The possibilities are), it's either one or two or the driver kasi kung makikita mo yung built ng biktima, kayang kaya naman siya ng isang tao (since based on the physique of the victim, it could be manageable for just one person to handle her),” Gultiano said.
However, Gultiano said upon initial inspection of CCTV footage, it appears that there was no other passenger aside from the victim.
“The bao-bao [driver] could be may kasama (may have a companion), we're looking on that possibility, kasi maaari ngang ‘nung bumaba na [the victim, tapos] biglang hinablot pabalik kasi kung makikita nyo yung bao bao... close sya, so hindi ka basta basta makagawas unless huminto at iopen yung [bao bao] (it might be that the victim had gotten off the baobao but she was grabbed back into the vehicle. The bao-bao was being enclosed as they got the victim so she cannot escape easily),” Gultiano said.
They also crossed out the gang rape possibility or that the victim was being stabbed by an ice pick, contrary to several theories scattered across social media.
Based on the initial report by Calinan Police, Bragas was killed through asphyxia by manual strangulation.
Gultiano also said the killing might be intentional.
“We are reviewing all the CCTV [footage available], but unfortunately napakalabo talaga (they are very blurred)... that's why po ang malaking makakatulong talaga nito yung (it would be a big help for our investigation if the) passenger, driver at others na nandoon sa area na pwede pong makakita nung nangyari (can testify of what had happened),” she said.
Gultiano said the police are continuously patrolling the streets near the area following the incident.
“We are strengthening the vehicle patrol kung hindi kaya ng beat patrol and motorcycle patrolling,” she said.
Reportedly, the Davao City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte had offered a P1 million reward to those who can provide information on the suspects behind Arch. Vlanche Marie Bragas’ death. ICE