Wednesday, July 30, 1997

2 suspects in case of....... disappearance of............... Chiongs freed
'They are still suspects, only we have no airtight case against them'.......Task Force Chiong Leader Fritz Quiñanola

    Two men picked up for questioning in connection with the case of the Chiong sisters were released Monday as police admitted they have no evidence against the duo.

     Lawyer Gerry Lariosa said Alberto Caño and Ariel Balansag may file charges against the officers who picked them up

     The day the two men were released, Marijoy Chiong, 21, was buried. The search for her sister Jacqueline, 23, continues.

     Police check a cliff in Talisay yesterday after reports of a foul smell, but they found nothing other than chicken carcasses.

     Task Force Chiong Leader Fritz Quiñanola said the release does not mean Caño and Balansag have been cleared. "They are still suspects, only we have no airtight case against them," he told reporters.

     Caño drives an air-conditioned van; Balansag acts as his conductor. Police pick them up Saturday dawn.

     Their families are reportedly planning to file charges against the police.

     Police Regional Director Ramsey Ocampo said the Criminal Investigation Group had to release Caño and Balansag to avoid being held liable for arbitrary detention.

     But Lariosa said officers can be held liable for physical injuries and the losses the duo incurred when Caño and Balansag were detained.

     The two men were released Monday, along with their van, 61 hours after they were picked up.

      Quiñanola maintained that a witness boarded the "colorum" van from Carcar to Cebu city in the evening of July 16, disputing the claim of a Carcar mechanic that the van was under repair at that time.

     Another witness, he said saw the Lite Ace parked along the highway in Sitio Tan-awan, Barangay Guadalupe, Carcar, early morning the next day.

     Marijoy's body was found in a 150-meter ravine in Tan-awan.

     Quiñanola said three witnesses executed affidavits but added that the police still have to get additional evidence.

      Investigators are looking into the possibility that the Chiong sisters were abducted by robbers. He cited the loss of Marijoy's personal belongings. Jacqueline had just received her salary when she and her sister failed to go home last July 16.

FOUL ODOR. Two Task  Force Chiong officials Insp. Florencio Diaz and  Chief Insp. Benjamin Miaga look at the cliff at Campo 5 after residents complained of  the stench coming from the area.  A young volunteer would later  find  numerous chicken feet, thighs, and heads thrown  into the  cliff.

    The University of San Carlos (USC) community plans to include the Cebu City and Provincial Government, police and students from other schools in an indignation rally.

     The rally was set for Aug. 13, said Fr. Max Abalos, USC vice president for administration, who met with teachers and student leaders yesterday.

     As planned, delegates will meet at Fuente Osmeña.

     "We can't believe that it could happen," Abalos said, explaining that the indignation rally is not just for the Chiong sisters but also against violence.

     "We see in this incident a bigger problem--- violence, heinous crimes and drug problem," said Abalos.

     The Chiong family had expressed belief Marijoy and Jacqueline were victims of drug addicts.

     Abalos said the rally also aims to challenge people to end their indifference against the drug problem. He said they will invite representatives from other sectors to meet on Friday and finalize plans for the rally.

     The search for the Chiong sisters has even drawn a prank caller, who prompted reporters to rush off to Dumanjug over the weekend when he said a body had been found there. 

     Two police units checked a cliff in Talisay the whole day yesterday but found nothing but chicken carcasses.

     Investigation and intelligence division chief said they found rotten chicken, including a sackful of chicken feet, on the edge of the cliff. OCP/GC/FLB.

Comments:  If the police had no evidence against the duo, then why pick them up in the first place.

     The police claim they have a witness that saw their van early morning the next day. However, the star witness' story, during the trial said that they took the van to Cebu City early morning the next day. Another contradiction? 


NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                

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