being repaired........ when Chiong sisters..... 'kidnaped': mechanic
THE white van allegedly used to abduct the Chiong sisters was being repaired when the young women disappeared.
A vehicle mechanic told SUN STAR DAILY yesterday that the Lite Ace was with him before the two sisters were reported missing until the body of Marijoy Chiong was found dumped in a ravine in Tan-awan, Carcar, last week.
'Di sad kana madray: ban binsan si kinsa kay ang yawe ana nia man sa ako," Antonio Dagoro said. (No one could also drive the van because the key was with me.)
The passenger van with plate no. GGC-491 was impounded Friday by police for investigation.
Alberto Caņo, driver of a van-for-hire, and his conductor, Ariel Balansag, were arrested by Cebu city police operatives for their involvement in the abduction of Marijoy and Jackie Choing.
Caņo's neighbor, Juanito Geocallo, 41, told SUN STAR that the van was sent to Dagoro days before July 16 because of a malfunctioning airconditioning unit.
By 3:00 p.m. that day, Caņo took the vehicle from the motor shop but three hours later the van owner, Simplicio Paghinayan, returned the vehicle to Dagoro because of a broken axle.
Dagoro's Katugasan Motorworks is in Porrelos Carcar, about eight kilometers from Caņo's house in Barangay Panadtaran, San Fernando.
The Chiong sisters were reported missing last July 16. Marijoy's body was found two days later, Jackie, the older sister, remains missing.
The mechanic confirmed Geocallo's statement, saying the vehicle was with him for another two days for repairs.
Wennie Paghinayan Alfeche, the daughter of the van owner, admitted that they kept a masking tape inside the van to cover holes in their vehicle.
But she said she did not know about the handcuff found in the van.
Caņo fingerprints and picture were taken yesterday by the Criminal Investigation Group.
It is not clear if the police will file charges against Caņo and Balansag today.
Panadtaran Barangay Captain Felipe Basco accompanied Caņo's wife, Gina, to the police here to convince the authorities that their suspect is a good citizen.
SPO1 Felipe Yap, assigned in the San Fernando police station since 1981, said Caņo has no criminal record.
"Nianhi lang na siya nagpa-blotter kausa kay aduna siya's babanggaan nga koral," said Yap. (He only came here once to report that he hit a fence.)
Panadtaran Barangay Councilor Felipe Basco also said he was surprised to hear about Caņo's arrest for alleged involvement in the Chiong's disappearance.
Caņo is known among the drivers plying the Minglanilla, San Fernando and Carcar towns as he had been a conductor for years and started driving the airconditioned van of Paghinayan since December last year.
His neighbor, Geocallo, also said Caņo has short hair and never sported long hair, adding that may be it was just a coincidence that Caņo had a haircut last week.
The driver's face matched a police cartographic sketch except that the person in the sketch has long hair.
Other neighbors of Caņo knew him as "talawan" (coward) or one who does not like violence.
Caņo has two children and one is with his childless sister.
Comments: The above statements from Caņo's neighbor and mechanic were volunteered by them to the SUN STAR reporter within two days after both Caņo and Balansag were arrested with no basis and warrants of arrest. Both were still in jail and could therefore not have coached their neighbor and mechanic to lie for them.
The mechanic told SUN STAR DAILY that the Lite Ace was in his shop and no one could have driven it out since he had the key at all times.
Even the Barangay captain where Caņo lived has vouched for his character.
The daughter of the van owner admitted they kept a masking tape inside the van to cover holes in their vehicle, but she did not know about any handcuff found in the van.
Where did this handcuff come from? Was it planted by the police? Since Rusia did not come out yet with his "story" and the police did not have any other suspects yet, did they have to have another handcuff for Jacqueline? Not knowing that Rusia will "testify" later that the two sisters were handcuff together with only one handcuff and the handcuff was found cuffed to Marijoy's hand and it came from the white car.
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