Senate Subpoenas Suspects in Disappearance of Batangas Beauty Queen

Sad hearing Catherine Camilon’s sister Ching Ching, mother Rosario and father Relmer attend the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, on the disappearance of the beauty queen. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN
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The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs has taken action in the case of the missing Batangas beauty queen, Catherine Camilon. After the two suspects failed to appear before the panel, a subpoena was issued by the committee. Camilon, who represented Tuy, Batangas, in the Miss Grand Philippines pageant in 2023, vanished under mysterious circumstances.

Presiding over the committee’s hearing, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa aimed to shed light on Camilon’s disappearance, as well as the alleged abuses and lapses in judgment by some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Senator Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo motioned for the issuance of a subpoena for Major Allan de Castro and his driver-bodyguard, Jeffrey Magpantay, and Senator Dela Rosa warned the suspects that warrants for their arrest would be issued if they failed to appear before the Senate panel.

To ensure the suspects were served the subpoena, Dela Rosa instructed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to assist in the process. However, at the beginning of the hearing, it was revealed that de Castro had sent a letter explaining his absence, citing his pregnant wife’s pain as the reason. Dela Rosa considered this excuse to be “flimsy.”

The investigation into Camilon’s disappearance began on October 16 last year when her sister, Chin-chin, took to social media to seek help from netizens in locating her. Five days later, Camilon was officially declared a “missing person.” Authorities were alerted to a potential connection between Camilon and de Castro when a close friend of the beauty queen disclosed their alleged relationship.

De Castro denied being the person Camilon was supposed to meet on the day of her disappearance and denied providing the vehicle she was last seen leaving her house in. However, CCTV footage captured on October 12 showed Camilon’s car passing through several towns in Batangas, with indications that she was not alone.

Witnesses later came forward, stating that they saw Camilon covered in blood while being transferred from her car to another vehicle on October 12. These witnesses also reported seeing Magpantay in the vicinity. The DNA profile of the hair and blood recovered from the vehicle, which was later located by the police, matched that of Camilon’s parents.

During the hearing, Senator Dela Rosa’s panel discussed Senate Resolution 913, which focused on Camilon’s disappearance, as well as Senate Resolution 767, addressing the alleged abuses, killings, and human rights violations within the PNP, filed by Senator Tulfo. Dela Rosa expressed the committee’s intention to seek accountability while also hoping to find some silver lining in these unfortunate incidents.

While acknowledging that there may not be a magic bullet or divine formula to address all the issues surrounding police officers today, Dela Rosa emphasized the importance of reminding the police that their lives are no longer solely their own. Under their sworn duty, they have also dedicated their lives to serving with honor and seeking justice for the country.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs continues its investigation into the disappearance of Catherine Camilon, striving to uncover the truth and ensure accountability for all those involved.

Source: The Manila Times

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