By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government is currently monitoring the progress in the ongoing investigation on the murder of three Filipinas in Cyprus.
Embassy Charge d’Affaires Judy Barbara Robianes said they have reported the cases of the missing Filipinas to Cypriot authorities and have “continuously followed up with them.”
Reports emanating from Cyprus showed that authorities there are in custody of a suspected serial killer, a 35-year-old army captain and member of the National Guard.
The suspect has reportedly admitted to killing a total of seven people, including the three Filipinas.
Although the Embassy did not immediately release the names of the three Filipina victims, the state-run Cyprus News Agency identified one of the alleged Filipina victims as 31-year-old Maricar Valtez Arquiola.
It reported that Cypriot probers said a witness testified in court that the suspect has in his possession photographs of Arquiola’s temporary residence permit that was taken the day she supposedly disappeared in December 2017.
The suspect reportedly admitted to probers that he met Arquiola the day before she vanished.
On April 14, Cyprus authorities discovered the body of 38-year-old Mary Rose Tiburcio as they were searching an abandoned mineshaft in Mitsero, a mining area west of capital Nicosia.
Six days later, the body of another Asian-looking woman was found in the same area. Her six-year-old daughter is still missing, according to reports.
The self-confessed killer also admitted before interrogators that he met the Filipinas through online dating sites.
The Embassy said they are providing the families of the victims with case updates. Representatives of the Philippine Embassy are now in Cyprus to meet with authorities and provide further assistance to the investigation, including the provision of DNA samples to help in identifying the victims.
The three Filipinas and the child were reported missing between 2017 and 2018. Authorities have initially thought that they disappeared for other reasons and had not been victims of a violent crime.
The Department of Foreign Affairs assured that it stands ready to provide assistance to the victim’s families, should it be needed.