More evidence found vs 2 Pinoys linked to Japanese couple’s slay

More evidence found vs 2 Filipinos linked to Japanese couple’s slay

/ 05:25 AM March 12, 2024

OCTOBER 15, 2023 Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega holds a press briefing with the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) on October 13, 2023. PHOTO FROM PCO FB PAGE

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega. PHOTO FROM PCO FB PAGE

Government authorities in Japan have ordered the prolonged detention of two Filipinos who are being linked to the death of a Japanese couple after investigators found more evidence to supposedly pin them down for a “more serious” crime.

In a television interview, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega said that Japanese prosecutors sought the continued detention of Bryan Jefferson Lising dela Cruz, 34, and Hazel Ann Baguisa Morales, 30. The prosecutors would have until March 23 to wrap up their findings.


“According to Japanese newspaper reports, investigators found DNA traces at the residence of the woman (Morales), together with the supposed murder weapon, a knife,” De Vega said.


They also discovered footage taken by a closed-circuit television camera showing her buying daggers, he added.

The two Filipinos were separately taken into custody by Japanese authorities in January for abandoning the bodies of the Japanese couple who had been reported missing. While under detention, Dela Cruz and Morales were charged earlier this month with “murder and breaking into a residence.”

Based on a Japan Times report, Norihiro Takahashi, 55, and his wife Kimie, 52, both residents in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, were found with stab wounds under their house.

More serious crime

According to De Vega, the newly found pieces of evidence prompted prosecutors to elevate the crime filed against the two Filipinos.

“They were supposedly held for a minor penalty or minor crime, but then authorities found new pieces of evidence, and the offense was upgraded, which caused their prolonged stay in police detention,” he said.

But De Vega clarified that Morales and Dela Cruz were not in jail but only in detention while being investigated for the crime.


“According to Ambassador Mylene Albano, [Japanese authorities] have a few more days to wrap up the investigation and prosecutors will come up with a final decision on what crime they will file against the suspects,” he said.

While the Philippine Embassy in Japan has yet to be formally notified of the findings, De Vega said that Japanese police were investigating the possibility of a case for double murder.

However, he quickly clarified that the pieces of evidence found so far in the investigation should not be grounds to establish the guilt of the two Filipinos.

“Many speculations start on social media; [some] Filipinos here and in Japan are saying that the two have confessed to the crime. They have not confessed anything to the police, or that they are involved in any crime, that I can assure the public,” the DFA official said.

READ: 2 Filipinos in Japan questioned following couple’s murder

According to De Vega, the DFA will help in the legal defense of the two suspects, but this should not be taken to mean that the government condones Filipinos violating criminal laws in Japan.

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The DFA has also gotten in touch with the family of Morales, who is supposedly a permanent resident of Japan. It has likewise contacted the Department of Migrant Workers for Dela Cruz, an overseas Filipino worker. “At the moment, no visits are allowed because under Japanese criminal procedure, the suspects shall be off-limits [to visitors]. This will only be allowed once the trial starts,” De Vega said. INQ

TAGS: DFA, Japan, murder, suspects

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