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PNP-AKG scores big anew in anti-criminality drive

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership has commended the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP AKG) headed by Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo for its string of successful anti-criminality operations which have led to the neutralization of some of the country’s most wanted terrorists and kidnappers since the year started.

Over 50 most wanted persons in the country have been hauled to jail by the PNP-AKG since last February alone earning congratulations from PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas and the PNP Command Group headed by Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar who has been named as PNP Officer-in-Charge in the absence of Sinas who is still recuperating from the COVID-19 virus.

Last week, PNP-AKG operatives gunned down three most wanted persons in the country following separate gun battles in the countryside.

One of the slain suspects identified as Berhamin Ablayan Sahadi alias ‘Berhamin Usman,’ a wanted Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed in a gunbattle with policemen out to arrest him for illegal possession of firearms and explosives in his Zamboanga City hideout late night Friday.

The native of Talipao, Sulu was tracked down in his hiding place in Alas-as Village, Bgy. Sinunuc, Zamboanga City where he was killed after exchanging fire with officers at 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Estomo said members of the AKG Mindanao Field Unit headed by Col. Clarence Gomeyac, joined by operatives from the PNP Special Action Force, the Police Regional Office 9 (PRO9) Regional Mobile Force Battalion, Zamboanga City Police Office and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency were involved in the service of search warrants issued against the suspect.

The warrants for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2002 and RA 9516 or illegal possession of explosives were issued by Judge Peter Eisma of the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court Branch 15.

Estomo said the officers had introduced themselves as members of the police when the suspect suddenly ran inside his room, grabbed a gun and started firing prompting the lawmen to return fire killing him on the spot.

Recovered from the slain suspect were two chamber-loaded caliber .45 pistols with loaded magazines and a hand grenade.

PRO9 director, Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Genaro E. Ylagan described the slain suspect as a brother-in-law of ASG sub-leader Jabber Susukan and a known henchman of jailed ASG leader Jihad ‘Idang’ Susukan.

The suspects were believed involved in a number of kidnapping-for-ransom activities in Mindanao including an abduction case in Samal Island in Davao del Norte on September 21, 2015; the kidnapping of the Duterte couple (not related to the President) in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte on March 2017; and the kidnapping of Rosita Singua in Jolo, Sulu on September 27, 2019.

Sahadi was also identified as the gunman who killed a woman in Asinan, Kasanyangan, Zamboanga City last September 12 and a ‘key player’ in the bombing of a bus terminal in Guiwan, Zamboanga City on January 23, 2015.

Estomo said they are investigating reports that prior to his killing, the suspect was sent by his superiors to Zamboanga City to assassinate a high-ranking official of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command whose name was withheld.

On Wednesday last week, PNP-AKG operatives shot dead a most wanted criminal and his pal in a gunbattle in Antipolo City, Rizal.

Estomo identified one of the slain suspects as Reagan Gepulango, the no. 1 most wanted man in Tigbauan, Iloilo who is the subject of at least six warrants of arrest including one for a non-bailable murder case.

According to Estomo, members of the AKG Luzon Field Unit led by Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Aguilar and Col. Villaflor Bannawagan, joined by operatives from the Antipolo City Police Station, the Tigbauan Municipal Police Station and the PNP Drug Enforcement Group went after the suspects following reports they were sighted in the area.

Estomo added that officers were about to serve a warrant of arrest issued against Gepulango inside his hideout in Blue Mountain in Bgy. Sta. Cruz, Antipolo City when the lawmen were met with gunfire as they were about to enter the backdoor prompting them to retaliate.

Both suspects who were found armed with a loaded caliber 9mm Ingram machine pistol, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, died on the spot during the brief shootout.

Estomo said Gepulango is the subject of warrants of arrest for carnapping, illegal possession of explosives and gun ban violation issued by Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo Amular of the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court Branch 35 last February 9; a warrant of arrest for attempted homicide issued by Judge Rysty Ann Espinosa of the Iloilo City Trial Court Branch 9 last February 4; a warrant of arrest for attempted murder issued by the Iloilo City RTC on February 29, 2014; and a warrant of arrest for murder with the use of unlicensed firearm issued by Judge Nelson Bartolome of the Guimbal, Iloilo City RTC Branch 67 on September 16, 2013.

The PNP-AKG director also announced the capture of a wanted member of a kidnapping-for-ransom and gun-for-hire syndicate in Zamboanga del Norte 9 p.m. last Friday.

He said that Homer Macalisang Ocampo was tracked down in his hiding place in Bgy. Siay, Siocon and arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest for murder with no bail recommended by Judge Laarni Dajao of the Siocon RTC Branch 27 on June 12, 2015. No bail was recommended for the temporary liberty of the accused who was identified as a member of the Lumarang Criminal Gang.

Estomo said the suspect is particularly wanted for his involvement in the kidnapping of the Javier family on June 28, 2018 in Bgy. San Nicolas in Sirawai and for acting as a ‘hitman’ of the gang.

The suspect yielded two .45 caliber pistols with two magazines containing 10 bullets.

Other most wanted persons caught by the PNP-AKG so far this year were found to be the subject of non-bailable warrants of arrest for murder, rape and acts of lasciviousness and illegal drug trafficking.