Police: Rhea Mae Tocmo’s killing now a ‘closed case’
Murder charge filed vs Simeon Gabutero Jr. and his younger brother
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Labangon police have already concluded their investigation on the murder of 19-year-old Rhea Mae Tocmo, whose body was found stuffed in a box early morning on July 17, 2023.
Police Major Angelito Valleser, chief of Labangon Police Station, said that the case was now considered ‘solved and closed’ after a murder charged was filed at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday afternoon, August 18, against Simeon Gabutero Jr., who earlier admitted that he killed Tocmo, and his 15-year-old brother, who helped him dispose the body.
Tocmo’s father, Romeo, acted as the complainant in the murder charge.
“Atong ipahibaw sa publiko nga ang kaso, nafile na. Unya nahatagan na gyud og hustisya ang biktima ug sa iyang nagbangotan nga pamilya,” Valleser said in an interview that was held shortly before the filing of the murder charge against Gabutero and his brother.
Valleser said that Gabutero’s brother was included in the charge because it was not for them to decide on his innocence or guilt.
The boy has executed an extrajudicial confession wherein he admitted to helping Gabutero transport the box that contained Tocmo’s body. However, the boy said that he was unaware of what was inside the said box then.
“Dili sa amoang part nga kami mo determine sa iyang innocence or [sa] pagka guilty niya sa [kaso.] Depende na na sa korte, unsay dagan ug unsay desisyon,” Valleser said.
Warrant of arrest
As of this writing, the boy remains in the custody of his parents. Valleser said they will only arrest the minor after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the court.
Meanwhile, their mother has also executed an extra-judicial confession. But CDN Digital is yet to determine what was contained in her confession.
In an interview with reporters on Friday, Valleser said they have an “air-tight” case against Gabutero which resulted from their month-long investigation.
“Kompleto tanan atong ebidensya gikan sa atong DNA, katong gihusgutan nato nga previous case, kompleto siya. Nya ang affidavit pud sa atong mga witnesses, kompleto na siya,” he said.
After the case was filed, all that they have to do was to wait for the schedule of the preliminary investigation.
During the conduct of the preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor is given the discretion to determine whether probable cause exists for the purpose of filing a criminal information in court.
Illegal possession of firearms
In another development, Valleser said that Gabutero was already arraigned on Friday morning and he pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of firearms charge that was earlier filed against him.
He was meted a penalty of imprisonment for six months a one day for possessing an unlicensed firearm when he was arrested in Barangay Guadalupe last July 29.
A concerned citizen reported the police of the presence of an armed man in their area then, which turned out to be Gabutero. | with CTU Intern Mary Godinez
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