Organ traffickers behind Cebu teen’s slay?

MANILA, Philippines — Could an organ trafficking ring be responsible for the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan in Cebu?

The family of the victim wants authorities to look into this possibility apart from focusing on the angle that members of a cult – including a suspect arrested in Davao – were behind the murder, their lawyer said yesterday.

Silawan’s mother Lourdes, who has sought the assistance of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), appealed to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to make sure that they would get the right perpetrators.

“The mother is asking our authorities to make sure they get the killers who are positively identified by witnesses,” PAO chief Persida Acosta told The STAR.

Acosta, who visited the victim’s wake and talked to the mother last Friday, said several angles could be pursued by probers, including the possibility that an organ trafficking syndicate was behind the killing.

“Our authorities should really dig deeper into this case. Her face was skinned and her left ear and some internal organs were missing. Not just internal organs but face skin can also be transplanted now and teenagers could be ideal victims,” Acosta explained.

“There are really a lot of possibilities, that’s why it’s important to ascertain who the killers are. We have an ongoing case build-up,” Acosta revealed.

The PAO chief stressed that it could be premature at this point to conclude that the victim was killed by members of a cult who allegedly preyed on a farmer in Cebu last January.

Acosta explained that it is important to be careful in the investigation especially because of at least P2 million in reward money for the identification and arrest of the killers.

“The Silawan family would like to appeal to the PNP and NBI to get the right suspects because there could be fall guys who are just implicated by some people interested in the reward money and not in the pursuit of justice,” Acosta pointed out.

The PAO chief said the offer of reward money could have repercussions, citing the case of the Vizconde massacre where several batches of suspects were tagged by police but were later acquitted.

Acosta believed that the murder of Silawan could have not been perpetrated by one person only, considering the manner of the killing.

The PAO chief also appealed to eyewitnesses to come forward and assured them of support and protection.

The PNP’s primary suspect, Jonas Bueno, was arrested in Barangay Matina Pangi in Davao City last Friday.

Bueno, allegedly a cult member, admitted to participating in killings but denied that he was among those who killed Silawan.





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