DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 March) – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-11 clarified on Monday that Jonas Martel Bueno was arrested on Saturday in Davao City for a different murder case that he, along with his brother and brother-in-law, allegedly committed on October 2, 2016 in Barangay Sac-on, Carmen town in Cebu.
Bueno, 32, who was arrested in Purok Santiago, Barangay Matina Crossing on Saturday, was a fugitive with a pending warrant of arrest for killing Joselito Benitez Lumen on October 2, 2016, in Barangay Sac-on, Carmen town in Cebu, NBI-11 assistant regional director Jonathan Balite said in an interview on Monday.
Balite said the warrant was issued by Judge Jerry B. Dicdican of Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court in Cebu on February 23, 2017 for the killing of Lumen, not for the deaths of 62-year old farmer Trinidad “Trening” Batucan last January 13 and 16-year old Christine Lee Silawan last March 11.
“The accused Bueno was arrested on the basis of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Dicdican for the case of murder,” he said, adding they expect Bueno to be flown back to Cebu and presented to the court.
Charged along with Bueno were his brother, Junry, and brother-in-law, Jury Mal-ang, who is currently detained in Cebu.
Lumen died from gunshot wounds in the head and body.
In an interview with reporters, Bueno said he and Lumen had engaged in a brawl. He said Lumen wounded him in the left palm with a knife, prompting him to shoot the victim thrice.
But Bueno vehemently denied killing Batucan or Silawan.
Police Regional Office 11 director Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales issued a statement during a press conference shortly after the arrest that Bueno was nabbed as the suspect, along with his brothers, Junry and Jovy, for the death of Batucan.
Bueno’s brothers were killed in a police operation on January 18, five days after Batucan was found dead.
Morales also said at that time Bueno was considered a prime suspect for the death of Silawan.
The fugitive insisted he could not be involved in any of the two crimes as he was not in Cebu when these happened.
He claimed he and his family went into hiding in Talamban, Cebu in 2017, moved to Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on March 5, 2018, and lived there until they moved to Davao City on February 25, 2019.
Authorities in Cebu found the style of the killing of Batucan and Silawan strikingly similar, with the victims’ faces removed from the skulls.
In Davao City, Bueno said he had worked as a construction worker for four days for a hotel project in Matina before his arrest.
Bueno’s family earned a living in Agusan del Norte by selling charcoal. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)