Suspects in killing of ex-MNLF commander charged

Chief Inspector Abelio Jungaya of Kabacan Police said the cases were filed before the Regional Trial Court in Kidapawan City against suspects Sammy Bentangan and Esmael Pendaliday.

Jungaya said the duo killed Valentino Mantawil, 48, former MNLF field commander under North Cotabato chairman Dima Ambil.

Jungaya claimed Mantawil and his wife Saneram and four-year old daughter Hasmin were sleeping in their house when attacked by the suspects.

Mantawil died on the spot while his wife and daughter were wounded during the dawn attack.

Jungaya disclosed that another companion of the suspects identified as Siang Pendaliday, allegedly the victim’s former bodyguard, was killed in a short firefight against Mantawil’s followers.

The police official said personal grudge and “agaw armas” were among the motives behind the killing of Mantawil.

“We are still doing investigation as to these motives, but the M14 rifle of the victim as lost after the incident,” Jungaya said.

The day after Mantawil’s killing armed men killed a farmer in Barangay Banawag, Kabacan.

Lito Lapatsin was sitting on his motorcycle waiting for his wife when the perpetrators shot him with .45 caliber pistol.

Police recovered three empty shells of .45 caliber pistols at the crime scene.

Jungaya said they have identified the suspects but that they could not divulge their names as the investigation was still going on.