AN agency under the justice department will exhume this week the body of an 11-year-old girl whose death has caught the attention of Cebu City’s Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC).
An autopsy will follow upon the request of the girl’s family, said Assistant Regional Director Eric Isodoro of the National Bureau of Investigation 7.
A post-mortem by the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory showed that Chastity Mirabiles died after suffering from traumatic injuries to her trunk.
“Pwede siyang nabangga, nahulog o pinalo ng mabigat na bagay (It’s possible she got hit by a vehicle, fell or got beaten with a heavy object,” Chief Insp. Felino Brunia Jr., medico-legal officer, told Sun.Star Cebu.
Brunia conducted the post-mortem examination last April 7, the day after the girl collapsed on the street and was pronounced dead when brought to the hospital. The initial theories were dengue fever and heat stroke.
(A post-mortem is an inspection of the body, in contrast to an autopsy, which is a more thorough examination that yields more conclusive findings.)
Brunia said that an autopsy would have explained everything, but the family of Mirabiles signed a waiver when the police asked if they could proceed with one.
The PCAC is expected to tackle in its regular meeting today the results of an investigation by City Hall’s Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS).
Chief Insp. Wildemar Tiu, head of Police Station 2, said the police are checking security footage from different establishments in Fuente Osmeña that may shed light on the girl’s death.
“Nag-backtracking mi. It’s possible she may have been involved in an accident,” he said, adding that street children who frequent the area have been seen crossing the road carelessly or hopping aboard jeepneys.
Tiu has already denied a report that a police team picked up Mirabiles, and that she was allegedly mauled by the police.
He was asked by Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella to appear before the PCAC today to explain the issue.
Tiu, however, is on a 45-day vacation leave that started yesterday and will return only on June 2. He already asked for permission from his superiors months before the issue surfaced.
Insp. Sheila Gurtiza will deal with all issues on his behalf as the police station’s officer-in-charge, he said.
A mortician who also checked the girl’s body but is not authorized to speak of the incident, said the injury found on the left side of the girl’s trunk is different from the marks left by a mauling.
“Gasgas siya, mura ug na-aksidente o naigo ug sakyanan. Dili pareha anang gikulata nga circle ang bun-og (It looked similar to the injuries on those who get hit by vehicles. She didn’t have bruises from a beating),” he told reporters.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is in favor of an autopsy.
“The position of the mayor is very simple: no mercy to those who are found to be responsible. But I wish that is just an isolated matter,” Rama said.
The Police Regional Office 7, on their part, will investigate once they receive a complaint.
“I assure you kung may responsibilidad yung kapulisan, hindi namin ito pagtatakpan (If the police are found responsible, we will not cover it up),” said its director, Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas.