CEBU -- Rumors about a female vampire caught by the Lapu-Lapu police drew a crowd in front of their headquarters from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. yesterday, prompting a rerouting of traffic.
Police repeatedly denied the rumor, but people were so ready to believe it they were willing to be charged P100 each for a glimpse of the supernatural figure. Similar rumors hit the Consolacion Police Station last week.
"They should just show that vampire to us so we'll know whom to avoid," said Nelson Cañete, 26, of Marigondon.
By noon, traffic enforcers had to reroute vehicular flow in the area to protect the curious throng, which spilled over into the plaza.
Corazon Paquibot, 48, joined the crowd, only to find her daughter Lorelei, 22, who went straight to the area instead of home from working at the export processing zone. She went with a friend, Roselyn Balucas, 23.
They joined others who inched their way closer to the wire gate that separated the police station---and its "vampire" captive---from the rest of the world. But do they really believe in vampires?
"Mao bitaw nga nanan-aw mi dinhi kung tinuod gyud nga naay ungo," the two young workers chorused. (That's why we're here, we want to find out if these people do exist.)
Clara Igot, 52, from Ceres, Barangay Gun-ob was willing to pay P100 for a glimpse.
Who knows how these rumors spread? A tricyle driver, according to the version Igot heard, helped corner the fugitive.
Saturnina Medalla, 71, was sure she saw SPO4 Maryan Ybañez pulling a woman inside the jail at 6 a.m. Tuesday. She described the woman as having a scar on the forehead and a mole between her right cheek and nose.
Of course, she got the scar from a would-be victim who had the presence of mind to hack her, the story went.
But Ybañez insisted they arrested no such vampire---they didn't even have a female prisoner Tuesday. As the crowd grew, she got more worried.
"They're trampling on our plants in front," Ybañez said.
She and the rest of the police force would sure like to know who started the rumor -- of which related versions previously spread elsewhere in Cebu province.
Fangs and such
Last Feb. 1, a five-month-old boy died in Carmen town and the family blamed their fortysomething female neighbor, calling her a "witch."
The child, Magnu Giwanon Jr., reportedly had "fang bites" in the right ear and chest. Magnu Sr. said a young boy, who was looking for a spider, was also found dead a few days ago in the same barangay.
But Dr. Jesus Cerna, a medico-legal officer, downplayed said a poisonous insect or animal might have bitten the infant and caused his death.
Cerna has seen his share of cadavers, but has yet to come across one killed by a witch, he pointed out.
Dr. Nestor Sator, PNP 7 Crime Laboratory director, shared Cerna's view, saying the bites might have been inflicted by crawling insects, like a scorpion or centipede, or perhaps even a snake.
In the middle of last week, people swarmed Consolacion police headquarters from 5 p.m. up to 11 p.m. since they wanted to see a vampire reportedly arrested by the authorities.
Also last week, ABS-CBN Cebu reported a woman was arrested for acting suspiciously -- that is, crouching or "naghupo-hupo" -- in a grassy portion of Barangay Looc. A witch, the people told the police.
No, it turned out she was following her husband, whom she suspected of having an affair.