A Facebook post by Thirdy Acosta, a forensics expert, went viral on social media as he urged fellow medico-legal officers to refrain from making unsolicited comments on the case of Jovelyn Galleno, stating they could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
This came after several medical doctors took to social media to express their thoughts on recent developments in the Galleno case, including the discovery of unidentified skeletal remains among the missing person’s personal belongings, as previously reported by Palawan News.
READ RELATED NEWS: Medical experts doubt that skeletons found belong to Jovelyn Galleno
Acosta described the doctors’ comments as “reckless and irresponsible.”
“As a medico-legal officer myself, I call on these statements made RECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE. First, premature declaration and sowing of doubt surrounding the circumstance of death is unethical and careless [on] your part. A true medico-legal officer refuses to make conclusions based on an incomplete set of information, even on photographic examination. There are multiple stages of a proper medico-legal examination. And based on your statement, you do not have the experience to be functioning as one. Performing autopsies does not garner you the title of a medico-legal officer, shedding light on an otherwise unknown incident is a medico-legal officer’s primary purpose: not doubt.” Acosta said in a Facebook post.
“What are your basis for insinuating doubt? May I remind you, that while photographs are good at documenting the existence of an object, it is not a good way to assess an object. It is still best that [an] actual examination is done.” he added
Speaking on his personal experience in forensics and in examining the varying status of human bodies, Acosta shared other factors that needed to be considered.
“As in the case of forensics, there are other factors that are being considered. The status of the body upon death, the environment at which the body is located, the local entomologic presence in the area, as well as predation activity. 1. Status of the Body: the presence of blood or present injury hastens decomposition. The presence of blood on the skin or integrity of the skin tends to attract other insects, other than the usual maggots most of you keep sharing online. May I point out that there are numerous insects that prey on a cadaver, consumption rate of which also depends on numerous factors such as the volume of entomologic activity. 2. Not unless the area was experiencing rain from the 5th of August up to its discovery on the 23rd of August, it can be inferred that there was a cycle of sunny and rainy weather. As we all know, this incident again increases the moisture, more than the current state where it was found. 3. Location of the body: the body was found in a distant, (based on the picture) area of rich vegetation, this suggests that the body is exposed to a high degree of moisture to begin with regardless of current weather conditions. 4. Predation: It is a well-known fact that there are creatures that are attracted to carcasses. A discarded body that is isolated from usual activities tends to fall vulnerable to such predation activities. This usually results in certain body parts that contain a high volume of tissue being torn and eaten, leaving the bone to remain or be damaged. This is also the reason why some bones tend to go missing as these predators usually take pieces and bring them elsewhere to be consumed,” he said.
Acosta reiterated that it is the “premature declaration of opinion” and the insinuation of doubt that he is calling out, and not in any way saying that the other medical doctors’ conclusions are wrong. For himself, he is not also saying that the remains are of Galleno or not, as he has no personal knowledge of the circumstances regarding this incident or anything related to this matter.
In the end, Acosta suggests letting the authorities do what they are mandated to do.
“It is best to let the proper authorities do their job as they have information not known to the general public, kept deliberately in favor of the investigation process,” he said.
Based on Acosta’s profile, he is a medico-legal officer and a team leader of one of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) regional crime laboratories with the rank of Police Captain (based on a 2021 report) and has pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Sto. Tomas-Faculty of Law (based on a 2018 report).
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