Police nabs tribal leader heading armed anti-mining movement in SouthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) – Police operatives arrested one of the most wanted persons in South Cotabato while attending a town fiesta in nearby Sarangani Province on Wednesday afternoon.

Sr. Supt. Jose Arnaldo Briones Jr., South Cotabato police director, said Thursday joint police intelligence and Special Action Force personnel nabbed elusive suspect Daguil Capion, who has taken up arms against foreigners’ attempt to mine his tribe’s ancestral lands, around 2 p.m. in the poblacion of Malungon town in Sarangani.

Capion is facing a string of murder and attempted murder cases and listed as the number one most wanted person in Tampakan, South Cotabato,

He was arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued by Koronadal City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 25 Judge Lorenzo Balo.

“He (Capion) was spotted in one of the foundation anniversary festivities of Malungon and was immediately arrested,” Briones said.

He said the suspect was immediately transferred to the Tampakan municipal police station after undergoing routine documentation.

The official said Capion, who is a B’laan tribal leader, has pending cases for multiple murder, multiple attempted murder and grave coercion before the RTC Branch 25.

He was charged for the killing in March 2011 of three workers of a construction company working on the US$ 5.9-billion copper and gold mining project of foreign-backed firm Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) in the hinterlands of Tampakan.

Capion and his men were also tagged in the June 20, 2012 ambush in Barangay Kimlawis of Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur that led to the killing of a retired police officer hired by SMI as security consultant and three other police escorts.

In October 2012, he eluded arrest in an operation staged by the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) at his house in Barangay Kimlawis but his wife Juvy and two sons were killed after allegedly being caught in the crossfire.

Capion, who repeatedly admitted responsibility over the killings in various media interviews, said he had taken up arms to stop the supposed encroachment of SMI into their ancestral lands.

Meantime, Briones said Capion, who is considered a high-profile detainee, will temporarily remain under the custody of the Tampakan municipal police station pending a decision from the RTC Branch 25.

He said they already sent additional personnel from the Provincial Police Public Safety Company to augment the security at the Tampakan police station.

The official said they also requested troops from the 27IB to help secure the facility and its vicinity.