3 guns-for-hire die in Batangas firefight

November 22, 2018

CAMP Gen. Miguel Malvar, Batangas -- Three suspected gun-for-hire suspects died during a police encounter in Bgy. Bilogo, Taysan town, provincial police PIO chief Senior Insp. Kerwin Umali Amor Cabrales said.

A report to Batangas police director Senior Supt. Edwin A. Quilates by town police chief Senior Insp. Roy P. Cuevas identified the three suspects as Solomon Lacaba Panal, of Bisalao, Bagbaguin, Valenzuela City; Virgilio Cantuba Hernandez, of Banlic, Cabuyao, Laguna; and Efren Maranan Cruzada, of Villa De Calamba, La Mesa, Calamba City.

Quilates said the suspects were on board a gray Toyota Hi-ace (RDJ 679) and traversing along the highway in Bgy. Bilogo at 9:15 a.m., when upon  approaching a police checkpoint, they suddenly sped up and ignored the lawmen who flagged them down.

The team chased the fleeing suspects, who fired at the pursuing members of the surveillance team of Batangas Police Provincial Office-Provincial Intelligence Branch and the Drug Enforcement Units, Batangas (BPPO-PIB/PPDEU) led by Chief Insp. Rodel Ban-O, along with the Taysan MPS. The operatives returned fire, hitting the three suspects.

The vehicle of the surveillance team pursuing the suspects incurred several bullet holes.

The team recovered two caliber .45 pistols and a caliber 9mm pistol at the scene.

The Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team processed the crime scene.

The BPPO-PIB/PPDEU and Taysan MPS, with the help of reliable informants, learned that the suspects were reportedly notorious personalities involved in a series of gun-for-hire and robbery incidents in Batangas, Pampanga and Bulacan, as well as Metro Manila.

Quilates also revealed that the three suspects were involved in the killing of Elvis Areglo, an inmate of the Batangas Provincial Jail, in September 2018, the shooting to death of Kenneth Lumanglas, alias Pekto, and a seven-year-old child and the wounding of a civilian on Nov. 14, 2018, the killing of Eddie Notabio in Bagba-guin, Caloocan City in March 2017, the death of alias Bogger in Bagbaguin, Valenzuela City in September 2017, robbery/holdup of P120,000 from alias Orbie in Bagbaguin, Valenzuela City in October 2018 and the series of gun-for-hire activities in Sto. Tomas, Malvar, Tanauan City, Lipa City in Batangas and Cabuyao City.

Prior to the armed confrontation, the group was reportedly hired to assassinate an unidentified businessman from Taysan, Batangas, Quilates added.