CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 24 January) –The alleged mastermind in the ambush that killed Dr. Raul Winston Andutan, Jr., medical director of Maria Reyna Hospital here, has surrendered to the police a week after he reportedly went into hiding.
Lt. Col. Michelle Olaivar, Police Regional Office – 10 (PRO-10) spokesperson, said that Balingoan, Misamis Oriental councilor Richard Gepte, 51, surrendered to PRO-10 director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda, Jr. and city police director Col. Aaron Mandia at the Carmelite Monastery in Barangay Camaman-an this city on Sunday.
Olaivar said Gepte , who is running for vice mayor in Balingoan town, was accompanied by his lawyer, Atty. Silvan Sabio.
“Gepte may have felt that he was not safe (anymore) because all his hiding places have been raided by our police hunter teams,” Olaivar said.
Olaivar said Gepte, being a prominent politician, is known to the local public and the police have been receiving a steady stream of information on his whereabouts.
She said last Sunday, the murder suspect’s lawyer arranged his surrender and told Acorda they would be coming from Malaybalay City.
At the Carmelite Monastery, Acorda, Mandia and other policemen waited for them to arrive at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Gepte was presented to Judge Gil Bollozos of the Regional Trial Court Branch in Upper Carmen here Monday morning.
Bollozos recommended no bail for him and his co-accused Reynaldo Tortosa, a former member of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit or CAFGU, who allegedly hired the team of assassins who killed Andutan last Dec. 2.
The suspected triggerman, Joel Nacua, and his alleged cohorts, Marjun Cabog and Jomar Adlaw, all from neighboring Bukidnon province, were arrested less that 24 hours after the ambush-slay of Andutan at the junction of 12th and 29th Streets in Barangay Nazareth here.
Andutan, 62, a prominent urologist here, was driving his silver Toyota Fortuner on the way to Maria Reyna Hospital when he was shot allegedly by Nacua, who rode at the back of a motorcycle purportedly driven by Cabog.
Police said Adlaw served as a lookout.
Major Evan Viñas, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, said Gepte was identified by the three suspects who were arrested a day after Andutan was ambushed.
Viñas said the hitmen were contracted for P150,000 to kill the doctor due to a land dispute in Balingoan town.
The Andutans own a beach resort in the town “and there was a dispute over some road right-of-way issues,” Viñas said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)