Campbell’s ma returns, hears suspect’s witness

BANAUE, Ifugao–The mother of slain US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell made an emotional return to this mountain town Wednesday, listening to a defense witness that brought back to her sad memories of the tragedy that had befallen her and her family exactly a year ago.

Linda Campbell, 65, said it was important for her to come back to Banaue for Tuesday’s hearing since it fell on Julia’s first death anniversary, and the first time that the defense was presenting its witnesses.

“It is very difficult for us (members of the family) to be in the US. It is different for us just to get a report as to what has happened (in the hearings) as compared to actually hearing the witnesses,” she said.

The trial of the main suspect in the Campbell killing, Juan Donald Duntugan, resumed here Tuesday, the first time that a hearing was held in this same town where the killing took place on April 8, 2007. Previously, hearings of the Regional Trial Court branch 34 were held in the capital town of Lagawe, 25 km from here.

The 40-year old Campbell, a volunteer English teacher at a school in Albay, was killed April 8 last year, Easter Sunday, while trekking alone in remote Batad village, about 10 km from the town proper.

Duntugan is facing murder charges after confessing to police investigators that he had killed Campbell. He, however, claimed that he had committed the crime in a supposed fit of sudden rage.

Linda, accompanied by Julia’s best friend and fellow journalist Catherine Quayle and Peace Corps colleague Kate Kochersberger, cited the agony of having to take a 20-hour flight from the US, only to be listening to the witnesses and be reminded of the details surrounding Julia’s death again.

“It is really awful,” she said, adding her disappointment that she did not get to listen to defense other witnesses as she had expected.

Linda first visited the country in September last year to take the witness stand for the prosecution. She testified on the material as well as emotional loss that she and the family suffered due to Julia’s death.

“I would have liked it very much to listen to what the mother would have to say about this,” she said, referring to Duntugan’s mother Jane, who defense counsels earlier listed as a witness.

Jane was withdrawn as a witness in yesterday’s hearing. Duntugan’s lawyers said the subject matter of her testimony has already been covered by their first witness, PO3 Arnold Dalluyon.

It was through Dalluyon, Duntugan’s uncle and a member of the Ifugao police, whom the suspect arranged his surrender to authorities on April 27 last year.

In his testimony, the witness recounted how the accused asked to be fetched from his hiding place in Asin Road in Baguio City, and how he was eventually turned to Supt. Pedro Ganir, then provincial police director.

The defense was trying to establish Duntugan’s voluntary surrender to the police, in an attempt to lower his criminal liability after owning up to Campbell’s killing.

Private prosecutors, on the other hand, tried to shatter Dalluyon’s testimony by citing supposed inconsistencies in his statements surrounding negotiations for the suspect’s surrender.


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