Gene Boyd’s alleged killers killed; kidnappers, kidnap victims killed

The brothers were among four suspected kidnappers who were killed as joint Army and Police forces rescued kidnap victim Jacquelyn Silbin at around 4 p.m. today. She, however, “later expired due to multiple stab and hack wounds,” Marine Brig. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, Deputy Southern Command chief, told MindaNews by telephone.

Silbin, 53, a bakery and pawnshop owner, and her son, Jeffrey, 28, were abducted by masked men early Friday morning, July 28.

Jeffrey’s head was found near the gate of Camp Asturias in Jolo, Sulu, Saturday morning. His body was found in another area.

Dolorfino identified the four slain kidnappers as Iting Sailani, Omar Sailani, Anwar Amil and one still unidentified person. He said they were also the suspects in “the recent rash of killings of Marine, Army and PNP personnel.”

(At 11:02 a.m. Sunday, August 13, Dolorfino sent a message to MindaNews correcting the names and number of slain kidnappers. "Correction as to the identities of killed kidnappers: Jaid, Marlon Adjuran, Janday, Dammang Sali [still being confirmed] and one unidentified. Total: 5," he said. There was no explanation why the names differ from Saturday night's list).

On the day the Silbins were kidnapped, Ahirum Ajirum, Sulu police chief, was quoted as saying they have reasons to suspect the Abu Sayyaf to be behind the kidnapping.

He said they were informed the gunmen were demanding at least P10 million in exchange for their freedom.

The Sailani brothers, according to the Army and police investigators who looked into the killing of Gene Boyd in November 2004, were members of the “urban terrorist group” allegedly of the Abu Sayyaf.

By 10 a.m. of November 17 or five days after Gene Boyd’s death, a complaint for murder was filed against the brothers. Sukarno Ikbala, police chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao told MindaNews on November 18, 2004 that the complaint was based on a testimony of one witness. But he quickly added that more witnesses were being enticed to come out in the open as additional P100,000 reward was put up by “concerned citizens of Sulu” in addition to the P100,000 reward earlier offered.

Gene Boyd’s mother, Minerva, told Ikbala to conduct a deeper probe as she expressed fears the Sailani brothers were mere “fall guys.” She told him she did not want “fall guys” to be arrested because “that will be another injustice.”

At that time, the Sailani brothers had been charged with other cases.

Charges of murder were filed in court on December 9, 2004 against the Sailani brothers for the killing of Gene Boyd. Presiding Judge Allen Abubakar of Regional Trial Court Branch 3, issued a warrant of arrest on December 13, which was sent to the Jolo police station on December 20, “for appropriate action.” Not one of the brothers was arrested and before today’s report about their supposed death, there had been earlier reports, though unconfirmed, that they were killed in an encounter.

In a statement last year on the first anniversary of Gene Boyd’s killing, the Lumawag family and MindaNews asked:  “But did the Sailani brothers really kill Gene Boyd? Or were they made convenient scapegoats because some other people, whose duty it is to protect citizens, killed Gene Boyd by mistake?”

“Recently, we received reports from sources in Sulu that Gene Boyd was killed by a member of the military intelligence community, allegedly acting on poor intelligence work.  Is this why no other investigation result was presented to the family despite the fact that all possible documentary evidences were sent to investigators?” the statement asked.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales promised Gene Boyd’s father, Rene, also a photojournalist, a fresh probe on the killing. Gonzales made the vow during a press conference in Davao City on November 8, 2005. Much earlier, the late Reynaldo Wycoco, chief of the National Bureau of Investigation, vowed to conduct a parallel probe.

The Task Force Newsmen has listed Gene Boyd’s case as among those “solved.” The Task Force considers the case “solved” when charges against suspects are filed in court.

Reacting to the reported killing of the Sailani brothers, Gene Boyd’s father, Rene, said the investigation into his son’s killing should not end with their death. (MindaNews)