MANILA (March 16) — Opposition Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged authorities to arrest the known suspects in the brutal murder of Rebelyn Pitao, as he demanded that the government move with dispatch in solving her case.
“This is a golden opportunity for the government to show the people its sincerity in addressing lawlessness in the country by solving the brutal murder of Rebelyn Pitao. We need swift justice in her case,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said after a media forum held in Davao City.
“The government should not drag its feet in the investigation of Rebelyn’s murder because it is being closely watched by the Filipino people and the international community,” he stressed.
The lawmaker issued the statement in reaction to reports that the identities of the suspects in the gruesome murder of Rebelyn are now known. Rebelyn, a schoolteacher and daughter of Kumander Parago, head of the New People’s Army’s Pulang Bagani Command, was abducted by unidentified armed men while on her way home from St. Peter’s College in Toril District in Davao.
She was later found dead in a ditch, her body showing signs of torture, strangulation, rape and stabbing.
Her father and militant groups have accused the military of perpetrating the crime and identified four suspects allegedly belonging to intelligence units in the area.
“The government should not waste this chance to show to the Filipino people that it is not biased even if the victim is a daughter of a rebel,” Escudero said.
He added the Senate will only step in and initiate an investigation if the government fails to perform its avowed duty to give justice to every citizen.
The senator also pressed the passage of a bill that would penalize torture and other similar acts now pending in Congress.
The bill defines torture, involuntary disappearances and other cruel and degrading treatment or punishments, and penalizes the perpetrators of such acts. It also provides for the protection of complainants and witnesses and persons involved in the prosecution and an establishment of a rehabilitation program for victims.