Teen suspect in Christine Lee Silawan slay back in home care
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The legal battle to prove his innocence continues as the 17-year-old suspect in the brutal slaying of Christine Lee Silawan returns to the protective custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Lapu-lapu City.
Lawyer Vincent Isles, the legal counsel of the teen suspect, said they voluntarily submitted his client to the Home Care Children Center on Thursday morning, March 28, for the boy’s safety.
However, Isles clarified that the boy’s return to government custody neither means he is rearrested nor that the tides of the case are going against them.
“He is back in the home care facility. We voluntarily submitted my client to be placed under protective custody because we are afraid for his safety,” said Isles.
Isles added their move to “voluntarily submit” his client to government custody should not affect the case and should not be taken as “surrendering” him for detention.
Isles said their petition for the court to quash the warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data (WSSECD) and to return the non-electronic belongings of the boy which were seized by the operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) during his arrest last March 16 would be heard before Branch 11 of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) tomorrow, March 29.
“The warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data issued by the court only covers the electronic devices or the data in the gadgets. By no means can the NBI characterize the shoes, clothing or pieces of paper which they seized under computer data,” said Isles.
Isles added that WSSECD, a new form of warrant issued by the courts in pursuant to the Cybercrime Law, could not be applied in the case.
The suspect in the Silawan murder was arrested after operatives of the NBI searched his house pursuant to the WSSECD issued by Cebu City RTC Branch 11 last March 16. A murder case was then filed against him before the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutors Office on March 18.
But on March 22, the panel of prosecutors handling the case issued a resolution ordering for the release of the suspect from the Home Care Center as they deemed that the arrest made by the NBI was invalid and does not fall under hot pursuit.
City Prosecutor Ruso Zaragoza earlier explained that they terminated the inquest proceeding for the murder case and converted it into a regular preliminary investigation (P.I.) as they found that the arrest was invalid.
Duterte orders re-arrest of suspect in Christine Silawan killingZaragoza admitted having received a phone call from President Rodrigo Duterte asking him to have the suspect rearrested.
But Zaragoza, who said ordering for the rearrest is unnecessary, instead made an agreement with the mother and the counsel of the suspect yesterday, March 27, to return the boy to the Home Care Center for his own safety because of the threats that are posed against him on social media./dbs
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