Accused in murder of Christine Silawan pleads not guilty

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Renato Llenes, a second suspect in the murder of 17-year-old high school student Christine Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in court on Friday, June 7.

Llenes was charged with murder before the sala of Judge Christine Muga-Abad of the Regional Trial Court Branch 70.

His lawyer said that Llenes was not backtracking from his confessing to the killing of Silawan. “Not guilty, as to the charge of murder. But we want to emphasize that we want the crime charge to be downgraded to homicide,” said Manuel Degolacion Jr, Llenes lawyer.

Llenes confessed to the killing of Silawan when was arrested on April 10. He said he befriended Silawan on Facebook. He also admitted to using scissors in the grisly crime. 

Silawan, a Grade 9 student of Maribago High School, was found naked from the waist down, her face skinned to the bone, in a vacant lot in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on March 11.

Llenes was the second suspect arrested in the killing. Silawan's 18-year-old boyfriend (then 17) was arrested on March 16.

Prosecutors consolidated the two cases against the suspects on April 17. – Rappler.com