Lobregat appeals for calm, vigilance PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:37

Mayor Celso Lobregat, chairman of  the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), has urged the public to stay calm but vigilant amidst the abduction of a 21-year old nurse in Barangay Manicahan Tuesday night stressing that the authorities remain on top of the situation.
The mayor yesterday morning convened the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) to come up with a coordinated response in the light of the abduction of Maria Cris Sogradiel Cuartocruz at her residence in kilometer 26 sitio Busug in Manicahan around 7:30 Tuesday night.
Prior to the abduction, the four armed men ransacked the room of Cuartocruz’ mother, Elena. While fleeing the area, the armed men shot to death the victim’s grandfather, Jesus, a barangay volunteer (tanod) who responded to the call for help.
“My appeal to the public is we should remain vigilant, be calm and continue with our daily activities. The authorities, meaning the local government, the police, military and all agencies concerned are on top of the situation”, the mayor said in press briefing after the CMC executive session.
Immediately after the incident Tuesday night, the police have created Task Group Maria Cris, the group designated to devise plans to locate, secure the victim safely nd to run after the culprits. The group is headed by PCInsp Ricardo Garcia under the direct supervision of City Police OIC Director Col. Edwin de Ocampo.
“The order of the day is to locate, secure the safe release and also to arrest and file charges against the abductors," the CMC chair said, adding that one of the measures that was agreed was to request top officials augment forces in the city by sending back the Riverine Batallion to Zamboanga.
Col. De Ocampo has also been tasked to sit down with the different police station commanders including barangay officials and volunteers to review or revisit the security plan of each barangay in the city especially that most of the barangay officials who assumed their posts effective November 30 are newly elected, according to Mayor Lobregat.
During the press briefing, Mayor Lobregat and Col. De Ocampo said the authorities have identified the suspects in the abduction and murder incidents but declined to divulge additional details stressing that operations are being conducted. “The investigation is not yet complete but there are initial leads”, they stressed.
“Until the case is filed, we can’t mention who the suspects are because we would want to make sure that we have airtight case," the mayor said.
The assistance of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operation or DIPO will be sought once it is determined that the victim has been brought outside of the region but as of now the authorities believe that the victim is still within Region 9.
Initial investigation showed that the victim’s mother, Elena is a rice trader. The Cuartocruz’ residence is located right at the back of the residence of Benjamin Almonte, who was abducted in Bolong February 6 this year and released Feb. 20. From her residence in Busug, Manicahan, Maria Cris was dragged to the mangrove area towards the coastal area some 1.6 kilometers away where her abductors rode on a motor boat towards an unknown direction.
Aside from the CMC members, also present during the meeting were top officials from the Regional Police Office-9, Western Mindanao Command, 530th Air Base Wing, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Scene of the Crime operations, representatives from the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce, Manicahan barangay chair Crisencio Natividad and Bolong chair Antonio Evangelista and several others. -- Sheila Covarrubias