The Department of Education strongly condemns the barbaric murder of a Grade 9 learner found on a vacant lot in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on March 11, and urges the proper authorities to hasten the arrest of the perpetrators.
The victim, identified as Cristine Silawan, a 16-year-old student of Maribago High School, was reported missing by her mother Sunday when she failed to return home from serving as a tithe collector in church. Her lifeless body, reportedly raped and skinned to the skull, was discovered the following morning by passersby.
DepEd Schools Division Office of Lapu-Lapu City has issued a memorandum reminding all public and private elementary and secondary schools to strengthen their existing rules and policies on school safety. It further enumerated security measures such as: Restricting practices for school presentations and other school-related activities until 5 p.m. only; instructing school heads to advise learners to bring packed lunch or snacks instead of buying food outside school premises; ensuring that fully functional CCTV cameras are installed in strategic areas; requesting additional presence of police or barangay tanod in the area; and advising students to always go in groups when out on the streets, especially when it is already dark.
As the Department calls on the local government unit and the police to swiftly bring to justice the cold-blooded criminals, it likewise enjoins the public in the shared responsibility of protecting children from all forms of abuse, violence, exploitation, and threat.
The Department extends its deepest condolences to the grieving family and requests the DepEd community for voluntary contribution to provide the bereaved with adequate financial assistance.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros likewise condemned the rape-murder of Silawan.
“I condemn the brutal rape and murder of 16-year-old Cristine Silawan. My sincerest condolences go out to Cristine’s family, friends, the people of Cebu, and the community and church she served,” said Hontiveros.
She said the horrible treatment of her and the terrible state of her body are an affront to all women.
“This is a gruesome and inhuman act. I exhort the authorities to swiftly act on this case, find those responsible for this horrific crime and bring them to justice,” Hontiveros said.
Silawan was reportedly found dead on Monday morning. Reports say that she went to Church on Sunday but did not come home.
Authorities found her throat slit, with several stab wounds on her body. The authorities also said that Silawan was raped before her face was skinned to the bones, exposing her skull.
The police is now hunting down three alleged suspects in the brutal crime.