Some Maguindanao massacre suspects hide in Metro Manila PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:00

A ranking police official on Friday said that some suspects in last year’s Maguindanao massacre are presently in Metro Manila seeking refuge from their relatives to evade arrest.

During the regular Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis (TSIP) in Camp Crame, Chief Supt. Benito Estipona, chief of the Special Task Group Maguindanao, said that they have received information that some of the suspects in the killing of 57 civilians and media practitioners on Nov. 23, 2009 had fled Maguindanao and were now in Metro Manila.

“We received information that some of the suspects in Maguindanao massacre mostly CVOs (Civilian Volunteers Organization members) are hiding in Metro Manila to evade arrest,” said Estipona.

In this light, Estipona said he already tapped two of the 20 tracker teams of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to intensify intelligence operations in Metro Manila, particularly to various Muslim communities, to go after the suspects.

At present, government authorities are still hunting down 112 suspects, mostly members of CVOs loyal to the powerful Ampatuan clan. A total of 195 persons have been charged for the gruesome killing, 83 of them have already been arrested and are now facing trial.

Among those arrested were former Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who was tagged as the principal suspect in the massacre for allegedly leading more or less 100 armed men in staging the cold-blooded killing. His father and namesake former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Sr. is also under custody after being implicated in the crime.

Earlier, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Raul Bacalzo said that some of the suspects had also linked up with bandit group operating in Central Mindanao areas.

"Based on our intelligence monitoring, majority of the suspects have already joined the bandits in Central Mindanao,” said Bacalzo.

Among the lawless groups monitored to have been coddling some of the accused are the Alkobar extortion group, the Pentagon kidnap-for-ransom gang and rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which incidentally is negotiating peace with the government.

Bacalzo said the PNP took measures to convince the MILF leadership to peacefully surrender those who were taking refuge to the secessionist group.

“We are coordinating with Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for them to ask the MILF to convince their comrades to surrender the wanted personalities involved in the Maguindanao massacre,” said Bacalzo.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:44