Leader of lawless group, follower nabbed in Malungon

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 October) — Joint operatives arrested an alleged leader of a lawless group in Sarangani province and one of his followers, and recovered at least 14 high-powered firearms in separate raids on Friday in Malungon town.

Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, public information officer of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, identified the suspects as Luis Lañelyn Malila alias “Kumander Lo” and Tornica Masday Malila, both residents of Sitio Datal Lutay, Barangay B’laan in Malungon.

He said Luis, listed as Malungon’s number one most wanted person, is facing three counts of murder with no bail bond recommended and two counts of frustrated murder while Tornica is charged with one count of murder.

Capellan said the two were nabbed during search and manhunt operations in Sitio Datal Lutay that targeted at least five suspects.

Armed with five search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and two arrest warrants for murder, the joint operating team swooped in on five houses in the area starting around 7:40 a.m. Friday, Capellan said.

The team was composed of elements from the Sarangani police’s drug enforcement unit, regional mobile force battalion and the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion.

Seized from Luis’ house were a Garand rifle, an Armscor 12-gauge shotgun, three homemade 12-gauge shotgun, an Estrella Parco air gun, a clip of Garand rifle ammunition, two steel magazines of homemade 12-gauge shotgun, two rounds of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, five rounds of ammunition for 5.56 caliber and four rounds Garand ammunition.

The search at Tornica’s house led to the recovery of a homemade 12-gauge shotgun, a round of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition and four rounds of 5.56 caliber ammunition.

Capellan said two of the subjects — Nelson Malila Fiang and Ronald Masday Malila — managed to escape during the operation.

Recovered from Nelson’s house were a Springfield Garand rifle, a homemade caliber 5.56 rifle, an Estrella Parco air gun, a clip of Garand rifle ammunition and seven rounds of ammunition for Garand.

He said the search at Ronald’s house yielded four homemade 12-gauge shotgun with two rounds of ammunition.

Capellan said subject Dante Maligon Malila was not around and no contraband was found at his house.

Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, PRO-12 director, said the suspects were part of an “armed lawless group” operating in the quad boundaries of Tampakan, South Cotabato; Columbio, Sultan Kudarat; Malungon, Sarangani; and, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

“They were responsible for atrocities within this area and behind the cases of cattle rustling and cultivation of marijuana,” he said in a statement.

Corpus said the recovered firearms will be subjected to ballistic examination and cross-matching to determine if they were in other crimes.

He said Luis Malila and Tornica Malila will be facing additional charges of illegal possession of firearms while the same cases will be filed against Nelson Fiang and Ronald Malila. (MindaNews)