Priest is person of interest in death of Cam Sur woman

Jeraldyn "Ai-ai" Rapinan

BAAO, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – The death of 28-year-old Jeraldyn Bulalacao Rapinan of Barangay San Jose, this town, has rocked the Roman Catholic leadership in this province after a priest was tagged by locals as a person of interest in the killing.

Rapinan’s lifeless body was dumped in a grassy portion of a roadside along Maharlika Highway at Del Pilar, San Fernando, Camarines Sur on June 15.

She was discovered with several stab wounds on her chest, and there were signs that she was strangled. Her hands and feet were bound by a yellow nylon cord, while her face was covered by a malong when she was found.

In a post this morning by Fr. Louie Occiano, he said that as parish priest, he was interviewed about the issue.

Occiano is presently the parish priest of the town, but he is not the person of interest.

He was interviewed because he is the parish priest of Baao, while the person of interest is a resident of San Jose, Baao.

"I told the reporter that we will respect the ongoing investigation," Occiano added.

Occiano also made a statement that says he is not the suspect and he is not involved in any way.

The victim’s family

At their residence in Barangay San Jose, Vivencia Bulalacao Rapinan, the mother of the victim, looks intently at her daughter’s face through the casket, as if seeking for answers.

In an interview with the Bicol Standard, she revealed she feels a mixture of hatred and fear over what happened to her daughter.

“Ai-ai,” as Vivencia fondly calls her daught, had been looking for money to fund her child’s baptism, which was slated on Saturday, June 23.

She knew about the amorous relationship between her daughter and the priest, she said.

“It had been going on for some time already,” she said.

Ai-ai previously served as a helper in the residence of the priest, she noted. She stayed for ten years in said house.

While the interview was ongoing, the victim’s cousin and bestfriend, Sherilyn Rapinan, came forward to volunteer information.

She confirmed outright that her friend had a relationship with the priest.

“I know this because Ai-ai and I kept no secret from each other,” she said.

The victim informed her that she would be meeting somebody at the Diversion Road in Baao for about 15 minutes. Ai-ai said she was expecting said person to give her money for the baptism.

Asked whether the person was the father of the child, she answered “yes.”

When Ai-ai did not return after an hour, she started to worry.

“I tried calling her on her cellphone. It kept ringing, but no one was picking up,” Sherilyn narrated.

Someone texted her using Ai-ai’s number. The message said that she would not be going home that night.

She started to suspect that something was wrong because it was unusual for Ai-ai to suddenly decide not to go home.

“In fact she had no extra clothes with her, and her child was left at home,” she said.

Finally, the phone died, and she lost contact with Ai-ai’s phone.

Other reports

Meanwhile, other residents of Baao reported that there is another woman from the Rinconada area who also has an intimate relationship with the person of interest.

This information is still being scrutinized by the investigators.

Mayor Besinio

Baao Mayor Jeff Besinio said that many had been going to his office since the incident occurred, asking to verify rumors.

“I have already instructed the police to exert extra effort in finding information,” he said.

He would not give additional data as investigation is still pending.

Baao police

When Bicol Standard sought information from the Baao Municipal Police Station, the news team was told that the local police helped in the preparation of the affidavit of the mother.

They could not give additional details, however, as the case occurred within the jurisdiction of San Fernando Municipal Police Station.

At 5p.m., the chiefs of police of San Fernando and Baao are having a case conference in Baao, Camarines Sur.

Bicol Standard has not been able to contact the person of interest for his side of the story, as of this writing.