Catherine Camilon remembered amid developments on Geneva Lopez’s case

July 9, 2024 - 11:48 AM
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Catherine Camilon_Geneva Lopez_Yitshak Cohen
Catherine Camilon in this photo posted on her Instagram on Jan. 7, 2023; Mutya ng Pilipinas Pampanga 2024 bet Geneva Lopez and Israeli boyfriend Yitshak Cohen in this photo posted on Facebook on June 25, 2024 (catherine_camilon/Instagram; Finding Geneva and Yitshak/Facebook)

The case of another beauty pageant candidate, Catherine Camilon, was brought up by Filipinos following the developments about the case of Mutya ng Pilipinas Pampanga 2024 bet Geneva Lopez.

Reports said that the remains of Geneva and her Israeli fiance, Yitshak Cohen, were found in a remote quarry site in Barangay Sta. Lucia at Capas, Tarlac over the weekend, two weeks after they went missing.

The site was identified by “Jess,” the driver of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) used to transport the bodies of the couple to the site.

“Jess” said he disclosed the information after being bothered by his conscience.

He added that he was hired to drive the SUV for the two principal suspects in the case, who were said to be former police officers who had gone on absent without leave or AWOL.

“Jess” said he was surprised to see the bodies of the couple at the back of the SUV but did as he was told since he feared for his safety. The couple died of gunshot wounds.

Authorities have identified seven persons of interest in the case, with five of them already under police custody.

These include former cops Michael Guiang and Rommel Abuzo, who were dismissed after going AWOL.

Reports said Guiang and Abuza were assigned to the Angeles City Police at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guiang was the supposed middleman who the couple met in Capas on June 21 for the latter’s property transaction.

Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Maj. Gen. Leo Francisco said the couple was possibly killed due to a land dispute with Guiang.

“‘Yung mag-nobya ay nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makipagkita kay Guiang dahil si Guiang ay may isinanglang lupa kay Geneva at gusto nang gustong bawiin ni Geneva ‘yung lupa kay Guiang. Pero sinabi ni Guiang na may buyer din ‘yung lupang isinangla niya at ipapakilala niya ito kay Geneva,” Francisco said.

Another report said the other “buyer” was Abuzo.

Guiang and his companions allegedly arranged a fake meet-up to gun down the couple.

“Makikiita niyo it’s a planned activity… Ayaw ibigay ni Guiang ‘yung kaniyang isinanglang lupa kay Geneva, na gusto nang bawiin ni Geneva,” Francisco said.

He added that they are set to file murder charges against Guiang and the other suspects.

Lopez and Cohen were reported missing on June 22, although reports said they have been unreachable since June 21.

They intend to buy 20.5 hectares of agricultural land.

The couple’s own vehicle was found burning along the Capas-San Jose Road in Cristo Rey village on June 22.

Lopez’s remains have already been cremated, while Cohen’s body was scheduled to be repatriated to Israel this week.

The Catherine Camilon case 

The developments of the case led some Filipinos to remember another similar disappearance case involving Miss Grand Philippines 2024 bet Camilon.

“Mayroon pa isang beauty queen [na] nawawala,” a Filipino commented on a news report about Lopez and Cohen.

“Sina Geneva Lopez at ‘yung boyfriend na Israeli [two] weeks bago nakita ang bangkay. Ano na kayang nangyari kay Catherine Camilon?” another Pinoy wrote.

“OMG… si Catherine Camilon nahanap na rin ba?” a different user asked.

“What’s with beauty pageant contestants going missing and getting murdered. ‘Di pa nga nakikita ‘yung sa Batangas (Camilon?),” another Pinoy asked.

Catherine was last spotted on Oct. 12, 2023, when she traveled from her hometown in Tuy in the Batangas province to Batangas City.

She was supposed to meet former police major Allan de Castro of the Police Regional Office IV-A, with whom she had a relationship. The latter has denied this in a counter affidavit.

Police Col. Jacinto Malinao Jr., chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Calabarzon, previously said De Castro was allegedly “capable of committing violence” since the latter would sometimes physically harm Catherine, according to her friends.

“He became furious when Catherine allegedly reported to his wife that he has another woman,” Malinao said before.

Witnesses also said that they saw a bloodied and unconscious woman being transferred to another car in the vicinity of Bauan town on the night of October 12.

De Castro and Jeffrey Magpantay, his driver, were slapped with kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases but these were dismissed on April 23, 2024, due to lack of evidence.

The Calabarzon prosecutor’s office said there was no evidence to prove that De Castro and Magpantay were associates and conspired to commit the crimes.

Last May, the CIDG appealed the dismissal of the charges filed against De Castro and Magpantay.

Malinao assured the family of Catherine that the PNP, particularly the CIDG, “will never leave them in their fight for justice.”

“We will exhaust all legal remedies to indict all who caused the disappearance of the beauty queen,” he said before.

On July 2, Chin-Chin Camilon, the sister of Catherine, reshared a Facebook video featuring the beauty contestant with the caption: “Miss na miss na kita.”

Rose Camilon, Catherine’s mother, also hoped the latter would soon be found.

“[Nasan] ka, anak? Mahal na mahal kita. [Walang] araw na [hindi] ako naiyak… alam ko anak [nandiyan ka lang]. Hirap [isipin] na hanggang [ngayon wala ka pa]… [maghihintay] kami sa [iyo], anak. We miss [you],” she said on the same day.

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