Zamboanga City

Cops arrest suspect in murder that sparked public outrage in Zamboanga, Basilan

Richard Falcatan

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Cops arrest suspect in murder that sparked public outrage in Zamboanga, Basilan


Mayors Sitti Djalia-Turabin Hataman of Isabela City, Basilan, and John Dalipe of Zamboanga condemn the crime and join calls for justice

BASILAN, Philippines – Police arrested a man suspected of murdering a teenager and leaving her body in a secluded area in Zamboanga City. 

The victim, 17-year-old Louella Acaylar, had been reported missing for more than 24 hours before she was found dead in Barangay Pasobolong in Zamboanga on Wednesday, July 26.

The brutality of the killing was so shocking that it sparked public outrage in Zamboanga and Basilan, where the victim was from. 

It was learned that Acaylar moved from Isabela City to Zamboanga City to be with her mother who works there.

Mayors Sitti Djalia-Turabin Hataman of Isabela, Basilan, and John Dalipe of Zamboanga condemned the crime and joined calls for justice.

Zamboanga City police chief Colonel Alexander Lorenzo identified the suspect as construction worker Nickson Saavedra of Zone 4, Presa, Barangay Pasobolong.

The 29-year-old Saavedra was arrested on Thursday night, July 27, after a witness identified him at a police station where several persons of interest were rounded up and made to line up. Initially, police suspected that a group of men was responsible for the murder.

The body of the victim, an 11th grader in Zamboanga, was found in the bushes of a secluded area in Barangay Pasobolong, the same village where she lived, on Wednesday, July 26.

Police said the victim’s remains were already in a state of decomposition when a 12-year-old boy and his friends found her murdered in the bushes of Zone 3, Pasobolong.

Investigators said Acaylar’s clothes were intact, but her underwear was found nearby, and a strap from an eco-bag was found tied around her neck, indicating that the victim was strangled.

Police said an autopsy was needed to find out exactly how the teenager was murdered and the extent of her injuries.

Acaylar’s remains were taken to a mortuary in Divisoria, Zamboanga City.

Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Solon, Zamboanga Police Station 4 chief, said a boy witnessed the murder and pointed to Saavedra as the perpetrator. The witness has been placed under the protective custody of social welfare workers in Zamboanga.

“This is an assault not only against the victim but to all of us who work for a safe and secured community for our children,” Isabela Mayor Hataman wrote on her Facebook wall hours before Saavedra’s arrest.

Hataman called on authorities in Zamboanga to conduct a thorough investigation as she condoled with Acaylar’s loved ones “affected by this heartbreaking loss.”

She also called for a comprehensive investigation to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the murder so there will be closure and justice for Acaylar’s family.

Zamboanga Mayor Dalipe also condemned the brutal killing and promised support for the Acaylar family in their quest for justice.

He expressed outrage and said the Zamboanga City government “will not tolerate this blatant display of murderous aggression against our youth and this act of violence against our people and our communities.”

As a response, Dalipe ordered local security forces and barangay officials to step up security measures in the city’s villages to prevent crimes such as what happened to Acaylar. –

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