SPECIAL Investigation Task Group (SITG) Bragas said the perpetrators of architect Vlanche Marie Bragas’ rape-slay may have been “drug-influenced.”
“Definitely magkasama sila, mga suspect natin, related sila sa drugs (The suspects definitely are together in using drugs), because if you are a normal person you cannot do a normal thing, itong pagpatay at pag-rape hindi ito (killing and raping this is not) normal,” National Bureau of Investigation-Davao Region (NBI-Davao) Regional Director lawyer Archie Albao said in a press conference held in Davao City Police Office (DCPO) headquarters in the evening of June 5, 2023.
SITG Bragas had identified suspects as Dennis Panzan, Kent Lawrence Espinosa, and Renato “Empoy” Bayansao, and a John Doe.
The task group revealed the identities of the four suspects in the architect’s killing on May 17, which are based on “collected statements of witnesses and pieces of evidence collected”.
Bansayao was apprehended last May 28 and is now in the custody of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Davao Region (PDEA-Davao).
“One of the suspects is being arrested for drugs and there was a positive testing of the accused for illegal drugs,” Albao said.
Espinosa was reported missing on May 27, and Panzan, who was a meat vendor, died as he was being rescued by the Talomo Police Station last May 29.
According to the Link Analysis Diagram presented by Calinan Police Station commander Police Major Niel Vistar, the witness “Michael” identified Espinosa through a tattoo on his right hand. The witness, in his affidavit, said Bragas rode with Espinosa in the ongbak.
Another witness named “Joan”, who was almost hit with the same ongbak at around 10:42 p.m. on May 16, had an encounter with the driver of the vehicle. She later identified the driver to be Renato Bayansao after seeing his photo in news reports and viral posts.
Joan is known to be a regular customer of Dennis Roy Panzan's meat shop located on Megaville Street in Calinan, where Panzan reportedly punched Vlanche Bragas before John Doe landed another blow on her stomach.
After losing consciousness, the victim was seen by “Joan” being carried by the suspects to the ongbak before they turned back and sped towards the crime scene which was what was captured by the CCTV footage at around 10:46 p.m. “Joan”, however, swore that she did not notice Espinosa with the suspects during that time.
Based on the investigation, it is believed that the rape and murder of the victim happened in Brgy. Dacudao, Calinan District where she was found dead.
The NBI-Davao regional director said they had “strong evidence” supporting the alleged acts by the suspects.
“Mabigat po ang kaso (the case is strong), we have strong (sets of) evidence, we have witnesses, we have the CCTV ... ‘yan po ang mga (these are the sets of) evidence na (they are) really involved in the commission of the offense,” Albao said.
SITG Bragas had filed charges of rape with homicide in the afternoon of June 5 before the City Prosecutor’s Office.
(Photo by Ian Espinosa, DCPO)
June 06, 2023
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