Concerns about the perceived “slow” developments over the case of missing Miss Grand Philippines 2023 bet Catherine Camilon appeared after the police finally confirmed the DNA samples found in an abandoned vehicle linked to her disappearance.
Police Major General Romeo Caramat Jr., director of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said that the blood and hair samples in the recovered Honda CRV last November 9 matched with the samples collected from Camilon’s family.
Authorities previously collected DNA samples from Camilon’s parents to conduct a crossmatch examination with that of the recovered blood and hair samples in the vehicle that matched the car description of two witnesses.
Before that, the witnesses said they saw three men allegedly transferring a bloodied Camilon from her car to another vehicle on the night of the day she was last spotted — October 12.
By November 9, a Honda CRV was spotted in a vacant lot along the corner of Dumuclay Road and Star Tollway in Barangay Pallocan East in Batangas City. The vehicle had samples that were confirmed to be from Camilon.
“Forensic evidence like ‘yung strands of hair at swab of blood na na-recover natin doon sa Honda CRV na allegedly ginamit ng mga suspek na pinaglipatan ng katawan ni Miss Camilon, ay nag-match doon sa DNA sample na kinuha natin sa parents ni Miss Camilon,” Caramat said to ABS-CBN News on Monday, November 20.
“It only says na ‘yung sinasabi ng mga witnesses natin na nakita nila na binubuhaet si Miss Camilon ay positive. Confirmed na si Miss Camilon ‘yung nakita nila,” he added.
Camilon’s family agreed to give blood samples on November 16 for the crossmatch examination.
Meanwhile, the police said charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention that were slapped against Police Major Allan de Castro of the Police Regional Office IV-A will remain until they find her or retrieve her body.
His driver, Jeffrey Arreola Magpantay, and two other “John Does,” were also charged.
“Hindi pa natin alam kung siya ay buhay o patay na, but in the absence of that nga, it will remain kidnapping and serious illegal detention muna ‘yung ikakaso natin,” Caramat said, referring to Camilon.
The cop said they were still searching for the owner of the abandoned Honda CRV.
On the other hand, the gray Nissan Juke which Camilon had used before she went missing was owned by De Castro.
De Castro also admitted that he had a relationship with the beauty queen aspirant despite being a married man.
Cops previously said they are looking at a possible love angle in the case since De Castro and Camilon’s relationship was supposedly an “open secret.”
De Castro is under restrictive custody by the PNP in its headquarters in Calabarzon.
Meanwhile, the police’s update about the samples found in the abandoned Honda CRV on Monday failed to amuse some Pinoys who thought the progress in the case was “slow.”
“As a person who watches crime investigation documentaries and cold case files [in] her spare time, I can’t help but compare… NAPAKABAGAL NG INVESTIGATION. The more they prolong this, the lower the chances of the victim being rescued [and] most likely, recovery na ‘to hahantong,” a Filipino commented.
“Oh, tapos? Nasan na siya?? Mga bhie, isang buwan na ‘yang imbestigasyon na ‘yan. Napakabagal niyo,” another social media user wrote in response to the DNA samples update.
“All I can say is, this investigation is taking too much time already in taking all the leads, considering that the involved in this possible crime are police officers too,” wrote a different user, referring to De Castro.
“Ambagal kasi may @pnppio pulis na involved?” another Pinoy asked, tagging the X account of the national police.
“Ang tagal ng imbestigasyon ah. Identified naman na PNP ang isang suspect, or baka iyon din mismo ang hindering factor,” a different user wondered.
Despite admitting to his relationship with Camilon which Caramat said was “illicit,” the police major “chose to invoke his right to remain silent.”
“We could not force him to say if he knows anything because we respect his constitutional rights by invoking his right to remain silent,” Caramat said.
PNP Public Information Office chief Police Colonel Jean Fajardo also said that De Castro wanted to remain silent and just face the charges against him.
“Maliban doon sa implied admission that there is a special relationship, mas pinili niyang manahimik na lamang po at harapin ‘yung kasong isinampa po sa kaniya,” she said on November 16.
“Masyadong limitado ‘yung binitawang salita ni Major de Castro at ‘di naman natin siya pwedeng pwersahin at ang sinabi lang sa kanya ng ating Chief PNP ay harapin niya etong kasong isinampa sa kanya,” Fajardo added.
She also said that PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. gave his assurance to hold people accountable in the case.
“In-assure po ng ating Chief PNP sa pamilya na regardless kung sino po ‘yung tatamaan ng investigation na ito, regardless kung sino ang behind sa disappearance ng biktima, kahit pulis po ‘yan, ay asahan niyo po ‘yan na lahat po ng pwersa ng PNP… lahat po ng possible na kaso na pwede nating isampa ay isasampa po natin,” Fajardo said.
Camilon was last spotted on October 12, when she traveled from the town of Tuy in Batangas to Batangas City.
She represented Tuy in the Miss Grand Philippines 2023, which was won by Nikki de Moura of Cagayan de Oro.
Herlene Budol, also known as “Hipon Girl,” was named Miss Philippines Tourism 2023 in the same pageant.