Breakthrough in Tuy Beauty Queen's Disappearance: Acorda calls on suspects to surrender as 2 witnesses come forward
STO TOMAS City -- The inquiry into the disappearance of beauty queen Catherine Camilon in Lemery, Batangas has made significant headway, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Police General Benjamin Acorda Jr., who made this announcement on Monday, Nov. 6.
In response to these developments, Acorda has also urged the individuals responsible to surrender to authorities to mitigate their charges.
"I can confidently say that there has been significant progress in the investigation. That's why I am now appealing to those involved to surrender," Acorda stated during a press conference.
However, the PNP chief mentioned that he cannot disclose the specific details of the developments presented by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) so as not to preempt the ongoing investigation.
2 witnesses emerge
According to an official from the CIDG leading the investigation, two witnesses claim to have seen the missing beauty queen Catherine Camilon inside a vehicle, bleeding, in an empty lot in a subdivision on the night of October 12.
"They (the witnesses) were urinating in the area when they were approached and threatened with a gun by our suspect. That's why they were able to identify. The suspect came up to them, and pointed a gun at them," said Major General Romeo Caramat Jr., CIDG director.
The two witnesses reportedly came forward on Monday and provided their sworn statements to the CIDG.
According to the witnesses, they also saw three men in the vicinity before encountering the person of interest on the night of October 12 when Camilon went missing.
"They saw the victim with a head injury, being transferred from the victim's car to another car. They witnessed that the victim was bleeding, and three men were transferring her," Caramat added.
The police further revealed that one of the persons of interest's personal driver was seen holding a gun while confronting the witnesses.
The witnesses positively identified the person of interest based on their tattoos and physical appearance.
CIDG suspects that a romantic relationship could be the possible motive in Catherine's disappearance.
"There was a quarrel between the victim and the suspect, and allegedly, it is an open secret that they had a romantic relationship. It's evident that the victim's head was found to be bleeding inside the car, suggesting she was either struck or shot inside the vehicle," Caramat stated.
Furthermore, CIDG noted that the person of interest is not an ordinary individual; he is a police officer. However, the investigation is progressing as the two witnesses' testimonies come to light.
CIDG continues to gather evidence to strengthen the case against the suspect, even though they already possess substantial evidence.
A reward of P250,000 has been offered for information on Camilon's whereabouts, which has been contributed by Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste, the local business sector, and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC).
The police have previously identified two persons of interest in the case, including a police officer and a former owner of Camilon's vehicle.
According to authorities, a close friend of Camilon reached out to her sister, Chin-chin, and informed her about the alleged relationship between the missing beauty queen and the police officer.
The police officer was reportedly the person Camilon was supposed to meet on the day of her disappearance and allegedly provided her with the vehicle she was last seen in when leaving her house.
The PRO4A stated that the police officer in question has been temporarily relieved from duty pending the results of the investigation and has been placed under the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit while awaiting approval from the Commission on Elections.
During the election period, all police organization movements require approval from the Comelec, as specified in the poll body's resolution.
Car Theft and Fraud Charges
Meanwhile, the former owner of Camilon's vehicle, who allegedly used a fake address on the deed of sale of the car, is facing charges of car theft and fraud. The police suspect the former owner's involvement in a car theft group.
On October 16, Camilon's sister, Chin-chin, appealed for help in locating her sister through social media. Five days after Chin-chin's social media post, Catherine was officially declared a "missing person."
Based on CCTV footage captured on October 12, Camilon's vehicle was seen passing through several towns in Batangas, and it appeared she was not alone.
Catherine represented Tuy, Batangas in the Miss Grand Philippines 2023 pageant.
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