MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to assist in resolving the gruesome murder of a 16-year-old girl in Cebu.
“We’ll let the local police take the lead. If they have difficulties (solving the case) I’ll ask the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to come in,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
The DOJ chief, meanwhile, declined to comment on calls to reintroduce capital punishment following the incident.
“As SOJ (Secretary of Justice), I will certainly be consulted should a bill reinstating the death penalty be submitted for resolution. Until then I am constrained to reserve my official position on the matter. For now,I can only condemn this hideous crime and promise to utlize all the power within my disposal to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime get the retribution that they deserve,” Guevarra added.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) condemned the act.
“The brutal killing of the teenage girl in Lapu-Lapu is an act of pure evil and we call upon our authorities to catch the monsters responsible. We also call upon witnesses to come out and speak for the early resolution of this dastardly act,” the IBP-Cebu chapter said in a statement.
If given the chance, the lawyers’ group said it will provide legal service to “aid in the prosecution of the culprits to this vicious crime when caught”.
Police investigators said the victim, identified as Christine Lee Silawan, was a resident of Barangay Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City and a Grade 9 student at the Maribago National High School.
Silawan, who was a church collector, went missing after attending mass at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The victim’s body was then recovered in a vacant lot in Sitio Mahayahay in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City on Monday. She was found half naked with half of her face skinned.