GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 September) — Police authorities tagged on Monday an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) as behind the foiled abduction of a 73-year-old businesswoman in Midsayap town in North Cotabato on Sunday.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima Jr., Region 12 police director, said in a statement that three suspects who were arrested following the kidnapping attempt have pointed to an MNLF member identified as alias Anwar Gayak of Poblacion 1, Midsayap as the brains behind the incident.
Four armed men forcibly took victim Manolita Cedeño, who owns the Royal Drug Store in Midsayap town, in front of her home in Barangay Poblacion 1 at around 6 p.m. Sunday.
But the victim was able to shout for help, catching the attention of local civilians who immediately relayed the information to the local police.
A member of the Midsayap police’s traffic section identified as Police Officer 3 Ulysses Coronado immediately responded to the scene and his presence reportedly caused panic among the suspects, who quickly disembarked from the vehicle and left the victim behind.
Calima said a shootout followed that led to the killing of one of the suspects identified as Jelon Pasandalan, who was reportedly a resident of Barangay Ponol in Pikit town.
He said two other suspects identified as Digo Kadi Bagkal, also of Barangay Ponol in Pikit and Mohammad Tampong Pagayao of Cotabato City were arrested in an ensuing chase.
The fourth suspect — Adam Guiamilon Sansaluna of Barangay Sadaan in Midsayap — was arrested in a follow-up operation, he said.
Two bystanders were wounded during the firefight and presently being treated at a local hospital.
Calima said the suspects claimed they received orders from Gayak to take Cedeño in exchange for some money.
“Accordingly, they were instructed by Gayak to bring the victim to Barangay Tumbras, also in Midsayap, where they will hand over the victim to some people waiting for them on board a motorized boat. They were promised to be given P200,000 each for their effort,” he said, citing a report submitted by the North Cotabato Provincial Police Office.
Calima said Gayak remains at large and is now the subject of a police manhunt.
Meantime, the police official commended members of the Midsayap police station for foiling the attempted abduction of Cedeño.
He said the police operatives involved in the operation deserves to receive the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) “Medalya ng Katapangan” or bravery medal as they were able to quickly respond to the incident and “have shown great courage in situations involving armed and dangerous suspects.”
“They have successfully prevented what would have been another sensational kidnap-for-ransom case that would have generated funds to finance unlawful activities that endanger our communities,” he said.
Calima specifically credited the efforts of PO3 Ulysses Coronado for the successful operations.
“I am extremely proud of our policemen in North Cotabato, particularly PO3 Ulysses Coronado who was the first to respond and initially engage the armed kidnappers. Our policemen involved in the operations deserve to be awarded with PNP medals for their bravery,” he said.
The official also commended the alert civilians who reported the incident to the police in a timely manner.
“I encourage the public to continue to be vigilant. Report to the policemen in your neighborhood any criminal activity that you observe. Let us help each other in making our communities safer,” he added. (MindaNews)