DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Deputy Speaker and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte has offered a P1-million reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the suspects involved in the rape and killing of a female architect in the city.
“Ms. Vlanche Marie Bragas is an ordinary Davaoeño struggling daily for her future and her family,” read a statement from Duterte on Sunday, May 21.
The eldest son of former president Rodrigo Duterte and former mayor of the city, has joined the voices demanding justice for the 28-year-old Bragas, whose murder has cast doubt on the claims that Davao has one of the best peace and order situations in the country.
Bragas was found murdered on May 17 in a banana plantation in Calinan.
The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) said the young architect died from “asphyxia by manual strangulation” and showed signs of recent genital trauma, indicating sexual assault.
The police has created a special investigation task force to focus on investigating the grisly murder.
Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office in the Davao Region appealed to Davaoeños who have information about the crime to provide accurate information to expedite the investigation and promptly resolve the case.
From January to April, the police recorded 128 rape cases in the Davao Region, averaging 32 cases per month.
The data showed that 60% of these cases involved statutory rape of minors aged 16 and younger, while 18% were cases of incest and 34% were labeled as rape without further details.
Davao City registered the highest number of cases with 35, followed by Davao del Norte with 32, Davao del Sur with 26, Davao de Oro with 18, Davao Oriental with 11, and Davao Occidental with six.
Among the rape cases, the majority of the victims, 88 in total, were between 11 and 17 years old. Nineteen victims were aged 18 to 25, and seven were between six and 10 years old.
The data also showed that 60 of the cases have been solved by the police or filed in court.
Police-Davao spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Eudisan Gultiano encouraged victims to seek assistance at their women’s desks, as some incidents occur beyond the reach of regular police patrols, taking place in residences and secluded areas.
Gultiano also said the PNP welcomes Duterte’s P1-million reward because it would likely speed up the investigation into the case.
She said police have already identified at least five “persons of interest.” – with reports from Ferdinand Zuasola / Rappler.com
Lucelle Bonzo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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