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How Rebelyn Pitao Was Murdered

March 15, 2009


More details about gruesome murder of Davao del Norte elementary school teacher Rebelyn Pitao are coming to light as the anger of militant Filipinos simmer over the continued non-resolution of the 10-day-old crime.

Police forensics experts are quoted as saying Rebelyn, who would have turned 21 on March 20, was probably slain inside a white-colored van where as many as four assailants .

The report from Davao’s says in part:

There were rope markings around her neck and mud all over her body,” her mother told the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project. According to the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) of the Davao City police, Rebelyn had been dead for more than 20 hours before she was found by a local farmer. It suggests she was killed very soon after being taken. “Her body bore five wounds inflicted by a thin sharp object such as an ice pick, which pierced her lungs and liver,” according to Dr. Tomas Dimaandal who conducted the autopsy at a local funeral home. His report added that her genitals had suffered cuts “possibly caused by a hard object.” Her mouth had been taped up. Mrs. Pitao explained how, with the police officers listening, tricycle driver Danny Peliciano told her that two unknown men had boarded his vehicle alongside Rebelyn when she climbed in to ride home. As they neared Bago Gallera de Oro subdivision a white van, a Toyota Revo, blocked their path and forced the tricycle to stop. “Two other men came out of the van and dragged her out of the tricycle. The driver said Rebelyn was screaming for help but he could not do anything because the men were armed. The driver said he ran away. Then they dragged my daughter inside the van,” she said. Mrs. Pitao believes the other two men on the tricycle were accomplices and all four men climbed in the van.

The abduction site is about 300 meters from the national highway and is beside a church with the nearest house 50 meters away. Peliciano is now missing. A fellow driver who did not wish to be named said that right after the incident he quit working his usual route and disappeared.

“He is no longer staying at home and we have no idea where he is now. I think he went into hiding because he is a witness,” said the man. Mrs. Pitao believes her daughter may have been attacked inside the van or taken to a place in nearby Panabo City or Carmen where she was tied up, tortured and killed soon after and then taken to the ditch after dark.

Each passing day the death of this young woman goes unresolved darken the blot on the government of the day.

Like the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, the farmer-son of press freedom icon Joe Burgos, the case deepens public perception that justice is a commodity in short supply in the Philippines.


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