Thursday, January 13, 2011

DNA testing of massacre victims starts this week

Semen retrieved from the genitals of at least three female victims of the November 23, 2009 massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province will be subjected to DNA testing within the next few days.

Nena Santos, legal counsel for Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu who is one of the private complainants in the multiple murder case, said the prosecution plans to start the testing with sample taken from her client's cousin, Rahima Palawan.

"Kay Palawan, gagawin namin within this week [Fluid from Palawan's body will be tested within this week]," Santos told reporters after Thursday's hearing at a Quezon City court where trial is being held.

In his December 8, 2009 testimony, Chief Inspector Dean Cabrera, a medico-legal expert from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, said vaginal swabs taken from Palawan tested positive for the presence of seminal fluid.

Similar findings were seen in the autopsies of two other victims — Leah Dalmacio, a journalist, and Cecille Lechonsito, a vacationing overseas Filipino worker whose vehicle did not belong to the Mangudadatu convoy but happened to trail it along the way.

Santos said they would also request the court to allow the prosecution to obtain DNA samples from the massacre suspects so they could be cross-matched with those found on the vaginal swabs.

Currently, over 80 of the 196 suspects in the multiple murder case—including prominent members of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao who are suspected of masterminding the heinous crime—are in police custody at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City and Camp Crame in Quezon City. More than 100 others remain at large.

After the sample from Palawan is subjected to DNA testing, samples from the two other female victims would follow although no dates have been set yet, Santos said.

"We will do that [subsequent testing] when the proper time comes," the lawyer stressed.

After collecting and testing DNA results from the victims, their spouses and suspects, only then will the prosecution lawyers decide whether to amend the information they filed in court to include rape charges, Santos explained.

She said they are not rushing things because "at anytime puwede naman ma-amend anginformation [the information can be amended anytime]."

The DNA test procedure is so called because each individual’s cells contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in a very specific pattern that varies from one individual to the next, except in the case of identical twins. 

Forensic DNA testing has become a very reliable and increasingly available method for identifying crime victims and for implicating or ruling out crime suspects.—Mark D. MerueƱas/JV, GMANews.TV

1 comment:

  1. DNA testing by way of oral swabs is by far the standard procedure of sample collection as it's really quick to perform; nevertheless DNA tests, such as paternity testing.

    DNA Tests