Editorial: Headed for the ‘cold case’ file?

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

IT GOES “hot” and then it can go “cold.”

This does not refer to a cup of boiling water forgotten atop a deserted table but to the general classification of murder cases being probed by law enforcers.

“Hot” is when a murder is still being actively investigated, “cold” is when the investigation does not go anywhere and ends up in the “cold case” file.


Relatives of lawyer Noel Archival and his two companions who were slain with him may have to prepare themselves for the eventuality that the investigation of their murders could end up in the “cold case” file, that is if the archiving system of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has such a section.

It is apparent that the pace of the investigation by the Special Investigation Task Group for Archival is slowing down. Investigators aren’t getting new leads and are stuck with footage from a closed circuit television camera that needs to be enhanced for the probe to move.

If no new witness comes out, the probe will go cold altogether. And it will end up like the other sensational murder cases here in the past.

Viewing the investigation into the Archival case this way may hurt the relatives of the victims of the ambush in Dalaguete town a few weeks ago.

But it is better to say that than to give them false hopes. Accepting reality can also be a balm.

The painful truth is that the killers planned and executed the murder with a certain degree of precision and level of concealment that have successfully stumped the investigation. Until additional witnesses with vital information come out, the killers will never be identified.

It is good to stress, therefore the role of the public in solving crimes. It helps if investigators are determined, aggressive and creative and use advanced methods and technology in cracking cases. But people are the primary providers of information on crime that are being committed.

Having homicide probes go cold would encourage wanton killings if it hasn’t inspired criminal minds already. Everybody should therefore contribute to their solution.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 06, 2014.


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