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Cases vs 4 perpetrators in architect’s rape-slay strong: DCPO 

by Lea Regina Dulay, Lourhenz Igloria, Rojean Grace Patumbon, and Joana Mae Villanueva/UM Interns


THE SPECIAL Investigation Task Group Bragas asserted that they have airtight evidence and testimonies in filing the rape with homicide case against the four suspects in connection to the rape-slay of architect Vlanche Marie Bragas.

PCpt. Lean A. Marquez, Davao City Police Office legal officer, said they have a strong case because they collaborated with the City Prosecution Office.

“Kung ire-rate natin ‘to siya, mas malapit na siyang maging yung proof beyond reasonable doubt so malakas talaga kung malakas kasi, this time, the prosecutors’ office is part of the case build-up of the case kasali na dito yung mga fiscal kaya pumasa ito sa evaluation nila  (If we are going to rate this [Bragas’ case], it nearly achieved proof beyond reasonable doubt, so it is really a strong case because, this time, the prosecutors’ office is part of the build-up case, including the fiscal, which explains why it passed their evaluation), he added.

On June 5, the SITG filed cases against four suspects believed to be responsible for the grisly crime. Three of the four suspects were Renato Bayansao, Kent Laurence Espinoza, and Dennis Roy Pansan, while one person remains unidentified.

According to the statement by Calinan Police Station commander Major Neil M. Vistar, Bayansao was apprehended in a drug buy-bust operation last May 28, 2023, in Calinan by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and Police Station 10. 

In his presentation of the link analysis, he stated that during the night of the crime, a witness, alias Joan, recognized the ombak driver and two other suspects at 10:42 p.m. near a meat shop where the victim was attacked and shoved inside the vehicle.    

Aside from Joan, another witness came forward, alias Michael, who helped the police develop a digital cartographic sketch that included a tribal tattoo on the right arm. It served as the mark that led to the identification of Espinosa, who is currently at large. 

In another statement, Joan positively identified Pansan as the one who punched Bragas’ face on the way to a meat shop. Pansan went missing after the crime, only to surface at the Matina Pangi Barangay Hall with his hands tied and his face partly covered by packing tape. Not long after, he was declared dead at the Adventist Hospital on May 29, 2023. 

The live-in partner of Bayansao claimed that her partner could not have the tricycle driver since he did not know how to drive. 

However, city police director PCol. Alberto Lupaz said otherwise. “Ang ako lang ma confirm naa siya’y Rusi na motor. Lisod man ka makakuha kag motor na walay lisensya na dali raman ka madakpan kay sige baya tag checkpoint (I can confirm that he has a Rusi motorcycle. It is difficult to own a motorcycle without a license since you will be easily get caught because we always conduct checkpoints),” he said after showing a document from LTO proving that the Rusi motorcycle was under Bayansao’s name. 

Atty. Arcelito Albao, NBI XI director, said the perpetrators could have planned the crime. “It’s really a premeditated crime because [she was raped and killed]. You cannot do that without a [plan].”

Lupaz said they are still trying to locate the vehicle used in the crime. “Hindi tayo hihinto, hindi tayo matutulog na hindi natin na ascertain kung ano ang kalagayan ng nawala na tao katulad ng dito sa Calinan na nakita sa CCTV dun na pumunta na dapat yun hindi nayun, sinundan na lahat na at tsaka tumawag na ng back up kung pwede lang tumawag na ng back up (We will not stop, we will not sleep until we can ascertain the situation of the missing person similar to what happened in Calinan where it was captured on CCTV– that should not have happened, the moment she was followed. Also, if there is a need to call for a back up, call a back up. he said.

Bragas’ body was found dumped on a canal in an isolated banana plantation in Calinan. The post-mortem analysis confirmed that she was raped and choked to death.


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