Bella defends British boyfriend; dares police officer to fistfight

Posted on April 5, 2011


By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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Tossing her long, black hair, 35-year-old Bella Ruby Santos took the witness stand yesterday to deny that she and her “partner” had anything to do with the death of an 8-year-old girl.

“I was very shocked,” she told the judge, and said she removed her Facebook account because she was “so embarrassed” upon learning that her house in Naga City was raided by the police on March 11.

Under oath, Santos talked about Ian Charles Griffiths, the British national charged along with her for the Feb. 8 kidnapping and murder of grade 1 pupil Ellah Joy Pique, whom police say was a victim of the couple’s cybersex or online pornography service.

The former bar girl called the Briton “my partner” for the past five years.

“I know him (Griffiths) very well. We talk a lot, heart- to-heart talks,” she said, testifying easily in English.

“He is a financial director in a big company” in Singapore involved in a “computer business,” she said.

She vouched that Griffiths has no business deals in the Philippines and has never been charged before with a criminal offense.

Santos was not the least bit hesitant when her Manila lawyer Ana Luz Cristal called her to the stand.

The witness wore bright red lipstick and a confident air.

Replying to a query by Judge Meinrado Paredes about her marital status, Santos said, “I’m married, but separated, not legally.”

In a low-cut white lace dress, black stockings and gray half boots, Santos, with her Louis Vuitton handbag, was not the typical witness in the somber courtroom.

Minutes before her turn came up, she exchanged sharp words with a police officer and challenged PO3 Angelito Yaun of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to a fistfight.

Yaun was one of the police officers who applied for the search warrant to raid her house. Police seized a Mitsubishi Pajero later found to be registered in Santos’ name and which is suspected to be the vehicle used in Ellah Joy’s abduction.

Santos’ lawyers yesterday filed perjury charges against CIDU-7’s Willard Selibio, PO3 Yaun, and private witnesses Richard Ian Bruce Bansuan and Ligaya Escultos before the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors’ Office for allegedly “fabricating” allegations that had led the judge to issue a search warrant.

Santos, who was seated on a bench beside her lawyer, approached PO3 Yaun who was standing near her and apparently starting.

“Nagdako man lang nang imong mata (Your eyes are big),” she said.

Yaun retorted, “Ngano man, ang imo gamay?” (Why, are your eyes small?)

In an interview later, Santos said she was just reacting to Yaun’s tuant: “Tuo ka mahadlok ko nimo?” (You think I’m afraid of you?)

To which the woman allegedly replied: “Wala man man ko nahadlok nimo. Kon isog ka sumbaga ko karon.” (I’m not afraid of you. If you are so brave, punch me). Bella said Yaun reportedly told her, “Sumbagon tika sa gawas.” (I will punch you outside).