CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/03 December) — The wife of the Army corporal who was arrested here Friday for alleged involvement in a kidnap case in Marawi City said his husband just responded to the call of his former commanding officer, and was an unwitting participant to the brief shootout with police operatives from the Lanao del Sur capital.
Corporal Harvey Borreta’s wife was inconsolable yesterday, when she emerged from the interrogation room of the Cagayan de Oro Police City Office Criminal Investigation and Detection Management Bureau.
Requesting anonymity for security reasons, Borreta’s wife told reporters that they were having their supper Thursday evening at about 7 pm when her husband received a call from what she understood to be Major Mikunug Tangote.
“After the call, he (Borreta) began to ready his things and told me he was meeting Major Tangote somewhere. He did not tell me what the meeting was about,” she said in between sobs.
“They (police investigators) told me they will not release him (Borreta) until he tells them where the kidnapped victim is. What can he tell them when he does not know anything? His officer just called to meet him that night,” she added.
At about 1:30 a.m. Friday, Marawi police operatives led by Supt. Jaime Mojica figured in a brief chase and shootout with Tangote, his cousins Drisha Mojamad and Yahya Tomawis and Borreta along Masterson Avenue, Upper Carmen, this city. Taken from them were four .45 caliber pistols and several ammunition.
In a report released Friday morning, Marawi police alleged that Tangote and his cousins were involved in the kidnapping of one Ibrahim Ali, a Maranao garments trader last November 29 in Marawi City. The same report alleged that Borreta served as “spotter” during the incident.
In an interview Friday, Chief Supt. Francisco Cristobal Jr., head of the Joint Task Force Ranao, said that the suspects and the victim’s family had agreed that the payment of ransom would be in this city.
“The kidnapper instructed the victim’s family that the ransom pay-off will be done in Cagayan de Oro. That is why we coordinated with this city’s police office,” he said, adding the ransom was pegged at P5 million.
The statement of Cagayan de Oro police director Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales corroborated this in a separate interview. He said the “chief of police of the Marawi City Police had coordinated with our office regarding its operation on the suspected kidnappers at 9 pm, Thursday.
In an interview, 4ID spokesperson Major Eugenio Julio Osias IV said that “we will not dip our fingers in[to] the police investigation.”
“Our commanding general (Major General Victor Felix) has instructed me to make sure and assure the PNP that we will fully cooperate with the police investigation. We should not meddle in the investigation because this is a law enforcement operation,” said Osias.
He said that they only sent Major Aldrich Uayan of the Judge Advocate General’s Office to the city police’s Maharlika Headquarters, where Tangote is currently held, “to ensure that his rights are observed and upheld.”
According to their records, Tangote had no previous criminal and administrative case and that he even held three positions in the 4ID’s headquarters.
Tangote is a second batch integree from the Moro National Liberation Front in 1998. Until December 1, this year, he was officer-in-charge of the 4ID Diamond Band, commanding officer of the base’s Military Police and intelligence officer-in-charge of the Headquarters Support Battalion.
Borreta was the de facto aide de camp of Tangote until the relief of the latter as intelligence officer-in-charge of the Headquarters Support Battalion on Thursday.
He was relieved from his intelligence work to give way to an officer who was trained for the same job, and so that he could concentrate on the other two positions he is currently holding.
“It’s a normal relief order because Tangote has been holding three positions at the same time,” said Osias.
He said Tangote’s battalion commander Lt. Col. Rene Canete had confirmed that Tangote resides at the Officers’ Quarters inside the camp and had not traveled to Marawi recently.
“When I talked with him at Maharlika, he (Tangote) said that his cousins (Mojamad and Tomawis) visited him at the Base earlier that evening. Tangote told me he treated them for dinner at Jollibee but somehow the group decided to transfer to Calda’s Pizza at SM,” said Osias.
A long-time soldier, who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak officially on the case, said that Borreta may have had no inkling in what was about to happen in the early hours last Friday.
“Siempre, Borreta is just being a loyal soldier to his commanding officer. Sa tingin ko nadamay lang talaga siya,” the source said.
The source posited that any soldier would do what Borreta did “especially when you see persons in civilian clothes shooting at your commanding officer.”
“Of course, you do not second-guess,” he said. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)