The hot pursuit for the graduating student of Bohol Technology Institute (BTI) tagged in the rape and murder of a student of the University of Bohol clinched success Â in the municipality of Impasugong, Bukidnon yesterday noon.
Police Senior Inspector Jacinto Mandal Jr., who heads the criminal investigation section of the Tagbilaran City Police Station, identified the arrested person as Cristino Luzano Maligmat Jr., a 19-year-old student of BTI, taking up a course for driver-mechanic and hails from barangay Bicao, Carmen but served as stay-in worker for a family in Loon, together with his father, Cristino Maligmat.
The composite team from the Tagbilaran City police, Bukidnon Police Provincial Police, Police Regional Office (PRO)-7, PRO-10, intelligence officers, the Regional Public Safety Management Company (RPSMC) and the Impasugong Police Station conducted the hot pursuit after identifying the alleged assailants based on the testimonies of at least four eyewitnesses.
The authorities arrested Maligmat at 11:35 a.m. yesterday in a secluded area in sitio Sta. Ana of barangay Poblacion, Impasugong in the province of Bukidnonâ€”which Mandal estimated to be about 100 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City. Mandal said the arrest of Maligmat had been undertaken smoothly.
Mandal is expected to arrive Bohol today, bringing Maligmat with him.
He further narrated that, at first, they had a hard time tracking down the alleged assailant, being identified only by a nickname, Christian, and the victimâ€™s friends and relatives had no idea about his family name and address.
With the assistance of concerned citizens, the investigators traced the whereabouts of the alleged assailantâ€™s father.
An undercover agent managed to get information on March 22, a day after the victimâ€™s body was found, that the possible assailant already fled to Bukidnon, based on the manifesto of passengers coming from Bohol.
Mandal said Police Provincial Director Dennis Agustin only sent him and another officer to Bukidnon and coordinated with PRO-10, the RPSMC, and the police forces of Bukidnon. The intelligence officer of PRO-10 happened to be Agustinâ€™s former classmate and served as their link to the area.
Once the case is filed in court, the police investigators can consider the case closed at their level, Mandal added.
Police Chief Inspector George Vale, acting chief of police of Tagbilaran City, earlier told The Chronicle that Maligmat was supposed to march among the graduates of BTI on March 26, but had been missing already days prior to the graduation day.
The intelligence section of the city police received information that Maligmat had already fled to Bukidnon.
Classified information also reached the intelligence section that the arrested person had been involved in drugs and that he was high on drugs during the attack.
However, Mandal said they are careful in confirming it because it needs supporting documents to prove it.
According to witnesses, Maligmat was spotted with the victim during the wee hours by the roadside of B. Inting St. Extension some meters from the bushy area where the victim was found dumped at daylight.
Witnesses described the victim as already very weak, while his male companion then was standing close to the motorcycle where she was sitting.
Mandal said that based on his assessment, it is possible that the crime was committed near the area where the body was recovered, since her slippers were recovered three meters from there.
The victimâ€™s friends also identified Maligmat as her boyfriend, known to them as â€œChristianâ€, but they had broken up. However, it was learned that prior to the incident, they were exchanging text messages with hints that they already patched things up and the alleged assailant even gave her a cellphone.
According to some friends, the victim was still seen exchanging text messages with somebody that day prior to the time her body was found.
The victim, Rodalyn Gamba, was a 20-year-old student of UB, taking up Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
The victim hails from barangay Banderahan, Valencia, but was staying in a boarding house at Espuelas St., this city.
A certain Rex Limbagaâ€”also known as Rica, a 33-year-old beautician residing at Sitio Karaw-an in barangay Dampas, this city–saw the victimâ€™s body at around 6 a.m. on March 21 covered with pieces of trash on a bushy area of a vacant lot several meters from the roadside along B. Inting St. Extension, this city.
Investigators coordinated with the cyber-crime section of PRO-7 in Cebu to trace the text messages transmitted to the cellphone number of the victim.
The police got the cellphone number of the victim from her friends and relatives, which investigators believed had contained information that could give some leads.
The City Tactical Operation Center (CTOC) of the city police station learned about the incident when a concerned citizen reported it through a telephone call at around 6:06 a.m. on March 21.
Mandal immediately formed a team to respond to the report, together with the officer of the day–Police Senior Inspector Albert Quilitorio, the duty criminal investigator PO1 Jess Francis Monton, Quick Reaction Team personnel and intelligence operatives.
The victim sustained a stab wound on the left side of the neck and another stab wound on the upper left portion of the forehead.
Investigation also found that the stab wounds was caused by a blunt object which could be a thin branch of a tree or a hard twig.
There were also marks on her neck that showed the assailant might have choked her.
The medico-legal examination also found she was raped.
The arrested personâ€™s father said he had been worried that since his sonâ€”the third in the brood of fourâ€”told him on Sunday morning that he would be going to Tagbilaran and would proceed to their home in Bicao, Carmen, he had never returned and would only hear reports that he had already been arrested.
He said his son has two elder sisters and a younger brother, and was left to his care after his wife left in 2009.
The older Maligmat described his son as a silent person whom he had never seen smoking or drinking.
Since his son had been arrest, he said he (the son) should be asked to answer if the allegations are true.
He said he last met his son after breakfast on Sunday morning, March 22.
He also confirmed that his wife has relatives in sitio Sta. Ana in Poblacion, Impasugong, Bukidnon.
The older Maligmat also said his son still returned to Loon on March 21, where they served as stay-in workers.
He also said he still saw his son in the morning of March 20, doing the usual chores in the house of their employer.
However, he said, he was not with his son on Friday night during bedtime, because his son stayed in their employerâ€™s house while he stayed in a quarter beside the house.
He assured though that his son would return home or in their employerâ€™s house in Loon every night from Tagbilaran where he was studying, considering that he could get free ride on CheChe bus liner.