Tampakan mayor nabbed for murder

Police nabbed Mayor Bienvenido Barroso in the town by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Jose Mendoza of the National Capital Region Judicial Branch 55.

Barroso, who was clad in barong,  yielded peacefully and was immediately brought to the provincial police headquarters here for custody and medical examination, Senior Supt. Robert Kiunisala, South Cotabato police director, said.

The suspect had just taken over the mayoralty from his father, Claudius, who served as mayor for three terms from 1998 to 2007.

The elder Barroso rushed to the provincial police office to stand by his son.

The mayor’s uncle, Henry Barroso, was also included in the arrest warrant but the latter was not captured and is reportedly hiding in Davao City.

The suspects were accused of killing Gregorio Banal, who ran for mayor against the mayor’s father in 2004. .

Mayor Barroso, who served as municipal administrator in 2004, was tagged as the alleged mastermind of the killing. He was arrested months later in this city, incarcerated in Tampakan town jail for 27 days but eventually freed after the local court dismissed the murder charge against him.

Municipal Judge Marie Ellengrid Baliguat on November 26, 2004 ordered the young Barroso dropped from the case for alleged insufficient evidence to establish probable cause.

But Mayor Barroso said the victim’s family was able to secure a reconsideration of the case from the Manila court despite a ruling by the Department of Justice that there was no probable cause to charge him.

The mayor told reporters he and his family “will face the case fair and square” and that they are confident his name will be cleared.

No bail was recommended for Mayor Barroso who is set to be flown to Manila Friday afternoon for turnover to the court that issued the arrest warrant, Supt. Kiunisala said.

Mayor Barroso recently expressed support to the huge copper and gold venture pursued by Sagittarius Mines, Inc, which is controlled by major global mining firm Xstrata Copper.

Sagittarius’ main office is in Tampakan town, about 30 minutes drive from this city, but their exploration activities straddle the neighboring municipalities of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur.