Police say wrapping up Bragas rape-slay case after suspect’s death
THE SPECIAL Investigation Task Group (SITG) Bragas on Wednesday declared the rape-slay of an architect last May 17 in Calinan District as officially resolved after the fourth suspect was identified and killed in recent operation.
Speaking on Wednesday’s press briefing at Davao City Police Office headquarters, director Col Alberto Lupaz said they have done their part since they already filed cases against the perpetrators and recovered the ombak tricycle used in the crime.
Lupaz narrated that Major Ricky Obenza, Calinan Police Station commander, was informed by Emcor Calinan regarding a confiscated motorcycle last week due to unpaid dues for two consecutive months.
“Based on the information that was given by Emcor, it was the same description that was used on the rape-slay case of Bragas,” he added.
“Our investigators, together with the station commander, proceed to the area, and when they checked the unit, one piece of the earring was found on the flooring of the ombak, which was already dirty. It was the same earring found by the Scene of the Crime Operatives,” he further said.
“So with that, we are confident that was [the ombak] that was used during the crime,” Lupaz said.
The tricycle owner executed an affidavit claiming that it was rented for P5,000 by Jimmy Lobiano, the fourth suspect who was killed on Saturday upon serving of an arrest warrant at his residence in Upper Sirib, Calinan.
Lobiano was wanted by the Calinan police for allegedly raping his own 21-year-old niece, a person with disability (PWD).
Trike owner not off the hook yet
Accordingly, Lobiano was supposed to return the unit at 2 p.m. on May 17. But he arrived very late at night.
“We investigated the owner but based on the statement, he has no knowledge of the crime,” he said.
However, Lupaz said, “We can’t say that the owner of the ombak is acquitted, but if the prosecutor’s office will require us to include him on the case, then we will do our part, although as for now, he is the only witness but he as the owner of the motor.”
The owner knew Lobiano through their common friends.
“Ang owner wala sya nag cooperate sa pulis una gi report satoa sa taga Emcor, karon naay nakita na nga earring sa ombak nga gigamit sa krimen. I don’t know dili man nato, naay mga tao nga di gusto mahasol (The owner was initially uncooperative until an earring was found in the ombak. There are just some people who don’t like to be bothered),” Lupaz said when asked why the owner did not immediately report to the police.
Lupaz also said the sticker depicting a skull image was also removed from the tricycle, including some distinguishing marks.
He said they can’t consider the owner as an accessory to the crime yet. But he’s not fully absolved of liability.
After Lobiano’s death and another suspect Empoi now under the custody of PDEA, Lupaz said they would just prepare the documents and evidence the prosecutors required of them.
They would also comply if the prosecutors would recommend filing a case against the ombak owner.
“We’ll find out unsa recommendation sa prosecutors kung naa mi kakulangan mao na i-produce namo. As of now, gidawat man nila ang affidavit pero depende sa prosecutors office. Sila man mo-decide ana,” he further said.
For now, Kent Espinosa, the other suspect in the rape slay of Vlanche Marie Bragas, is still missing. But Lupaz assured that their manhunt will continue until they eventually bring in the suspect.
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