THE THREE identified suspects in the rape-slay of lady architect Vlanche Marie Bragas almost a month ago were Renato Bayansao alias Empoy, a certain Kent Espinosa, and Dennis Pansan. The fourth suspect remains unidentified and is still at large. 

Rape and homicide cases are filed against the four. But apparently, some unidentified armed men claiming to be from the “authority” have already meted on Pansan and Espinosa the possible punishment for their participation in the crime. Pansan was clearly tortured after he was abducted. He was able to regain short-lived freedom after he managed to escape from his captors. But he died, the police claimed, while he was on the way to the hospital for treatment of his torture injuries.

On the other hand, Espinosa was reportedly forced into an unmarked vehicle by armed men somewhere in Lacson, and since then, he was never seen and heard from again. So, to date, only Bayansao can be accounted for by the police to be in the custody of the authorities and will singly be made to account in the court for the alleged crime he committed with the three others.

We congratulate the police for the achievement if we can call it that. But the head of the Special Investigating Task Group (SITG) doing the probe on the rape and killing himself humbly admitted that until the time of the press conference announcing the identification of the suspects, one very important material evidence of the crime was still missing – the ombak tricycle used in picking up the victim.

We also noticed that nowhere in the press briefing was the name of the owner or operator of the passenger tricycle mentioned. 

Easily, the SITG could have reinforced the credibility and strength of their cases against the suspects. If the police know the operator or owner of the vehicle, they can just go to the owner’s address and check who rented the tricycle on that ignominious day. The owner, on the other hand, could have quickly helped the police had he or she immediately reported the disappearance of his or her unit. But of course, if the owner has some biased interest in protecting the driver to whom the tricycle was entrusted, it would be a totally different story.

With the operator coming out to help the police, it would be much easier for the law enforcers to track down the unit’s whereabouts.

After all, the owner of the unit is, in all likelihood, from Calinan. Why, because tricycles with designs clearly intended for public utility cannot just travel on the region’s major highways. These vehicles are strictly prohibited.  Therefore, they are a temptation to the men manning highway checkpoints.

Thus, in the herein case, in all probability, the unit could just be hidden in some private garage or motor shops in Calinan waiting for color change.


We are just wondering why incumbent mayor Baste Duterte appears to be the complete opposite of his father, the former mayor and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Yes, Mayor Baste seems so coy in voicing out his disgust for the current crime situation in certain areas in Davao. Or is Mayor Baste disgusted at all?

We have not heard even a single word from him, words that many Davaoenos are hoping he will voice out in public in apparent condemnation of the seemingly deteriorating peace and order of Davao City.

It was a good thing that his father and brother literally did it for him. In the case of the former President and Mayor, he chastised the performance of the police in the recent spate of crimes triggered by the rape-slay of the lady architect. He even warned the police that he would show his wrath on them should more similar crimes be committed in the city.

On the other hand, Baste’s brother did his part by offering a one million pesos reward for anyone who could lead to the early solution to the rape-slay case. Apparently, the recent development could be an offshoot of the rewards offered.

But of course, we are not precluding the possibility that Mayor Baste is doing his own thing concerning the crime situation. He may be just keeping it to himself and very few of his confidants in the police rank. We wish you good luck Mayor Baste.

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Source: Mindanao Times (