5 arrested in Lanao Norte for drug-related killing

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 9 June) – Police personnel in the municipality of Lala, Lanao del Norte, in coordination with the Police Provincial Headquarters, arrested five suspects in what was believed to be a drug-related killing following discovery of a dead body last Monday.

Maj. Salman Saad, spokesperson of the provincial police office, told MindaNews in a phone interview Tuesday that the body of Roel Cacho, 41, a resident of the capital town of Tubod, was discovered by joggers by the roadside in Purok 2A of Lala Proper around 5:30 a.m. Monday who then immediately reported the sighting to authorities.

Found at the crime scene were a slug and an empty shell of a caliber .45 pistol, Saad said.

He said that it must have been a case of illegal drugs transaction gone sour when Sacho failed to pay the suspects.

Unfortunately for the suspects, police saw a travel pass, apparently being used during community quarantine, in the name of Anacleta R. Palma in the crime scene.

Investigators immediately went to Palma’s residence in the municipality of Baroy, which is between Lala and Tubod. There they saw a vehicle whose windshield was obviously hit with a gun.

Saad said the investigators interrogated the car owner, Rey Paolo Palma (son of Anacleta), who panicked in front of policemen. He eventually confessed that he served as the suspects’ driver and disclosed everything that he knew about the crime.

Saad said a composite police team led by Major Jonan Bañas, acting chief of police of Lala, went after the suspects identified by Palma. The four others arrested were identified as William Abreo, 34, married and manager of Skygo Motors Kapatagan Branch; Napoleon Baljon Jr., 32 , single and security guard of the Department of Health Region 10 Cagayan de Oro City and resident of Purok 5 Poblacion Baroy; Roy Alabata, 40, of Purok 3, Baroy; and Russeller Pomicpic, 48, of Simpak, Lala and former policeman.

Palma’s vehicle, a hunter green Isuzu Sportivo bearing plate number ACB 4829, is reportedly now under the custody of Lala police for macro-etching examination while the suspects were subjected to paraffin test.

Col. Rene Solidarius, Provincial PNP Director, lauded the police personnel for the immediate resolution of the case and the arrest of the suspects. Cases have been filed in court against the suspects on Tuesday. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)