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Police: 2 witnesses vs Santos ‘credible’

CHECK. Investigators question a Morning Mist subdivision guard, and check a logbook the morning when the death of the 14-year old was discovered by her mother Merideth Mah. Investigators say a surveillance camera recording showed Santos entering and leaving the subdivision. (photo by cong b. corrales)
CHECK. Investigators question a Morning Mist subdivision guard, and check a logbook the morning when the death of the 14-year old was discovered by her mother Merideth Mah. Investigators say a surveillance camera recording showed Santos entering and leaving the subdivision. (photo by cong b. corrales)

By LITO RULONA, Correspondent

CITY police director Faro Antonio Olaguera yesterday said two credible witnesses have surfaced against self-confessed strangler Gregorio “Boyet” Rosabal Santos Jr. in connection with the Aug. 13 murder of 14-year old Stacey Villar at Morning Mist subdivision in upper Carmen, this city.

Senior Supt. Olaguera revealed this even as he said the police have enough strong evidence to pin Santos down in court. On Monday, police pressed murder and theft charges against Santos before the local prosecutor’s office. Inquest proceedings took place at around 4 pm yesterday.

“We have at least two strong testimonial evidence given by two credible witnesses who indeed saw the respondent (Santos) come in and out of the house when the crime was believed to have been committed,” said Olaguera.

He said the police also have “independent relevant statements” when Santos made admissions against his interest. Olaguera, who is a lawyer, said there was no “confession” but “only a voluntary admission against interest given by the suspect in front of other people…”

He said Santos did this when he expressed his “deep remorse” over the killing of the Abba’s Orchard School 8th grader after midnight Thursday.

Based on court rules, an “extrajudicial confession” is admissible if made with the assistance of a lawyer chosen by a suspect. A “voluntary admission against interest” is subject to a debate.

Olaguera said the police have also secured authenticated closed-circuit television footages that further strengthened the case against Santos.

Police said the footages show Santos entering the subdivision at around 12:54 am, and leaving the place at around 1:37 am on Thursday.

“I humbly submit that we have fully met the elements of circumstantial evidence sufficient to obtain a conviction beyond reasonable doubt in the event a full blow trial will ensue,” Olaguera told the Gold Star Daily.

The city’s police chief said this a day after city prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said his office would not rely on the mere statements of Santos because that would require a waiver of the respondent’s right to due process of law under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

“A confession must be made in writing with the assistance of a legal counsel of his own choice. Kung wala siya’y assistance of a legal counsel, then it cannot be admitted as evidence,” Macauyag said. He noted that the police submitted affidavits of witnesses, and prosecutors would focus on these, and use these as bases for the investigation.

“Bisan pa og daghan nasultihan sa confession, dili kini ma-admit pero bisan walay confession but there are other independent evidence, ma-sustain gihapon ang indictment,” he said.

Macauyag said Mayor Oscar Moreno and city police chief for operations and planning Supt. Lemuel Gonda could execute affidavits as witnesses if Santos told them what happened.

Santos surrendered to Moreno, a lawyer by profession, on Saturday but the mayor earlier told the Gold Star Daily that he did not ask the respondent questions about the Thursday murder.

“I did not ask him… I did not see, and I did not hear anything,” said Moreno, adding all he did was fetch Santos and hand the suspect over to Gonda.

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About Lito Rulona

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Lito Rulona is a veteran newspaperman and broadcaster who covered many of the biggest stories in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Northern Mindanao since the early 90s.

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