Suspect in Gov. Adiong’s ambush nabbed in South Cotabato

Lomala Baratumo, alias Commander Lomala, with his police captors. Photo courtesy of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) – Authorities arrested a suspect in the ambush of Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. in Surallah, South Cotabato Thursday afternoon.

Colonel Cydric Earl Tamayo, South Cotabato provincial police director, identified the suspect as Lomala Baratumo, alias Commander Lomala, 42, married, farmer and a resident of Bato-bato, Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

Baratumo was apprehended at a checkpoint in Sitio Morales, Barangay Centrala in Surallah town at 3:30 p.m. Thursday by joint police and military operatives,Tamayo said.

An intelligence-driven operation led to the arrest of the suspect at the police checkpoint, the official added.

He was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Presiding Judge Samina Macabando-Usman of the 12th Judicial Region, Branch 8 in Marawi City in connection with the ambush of Adiong and his convoy in Maguing, Lanao del Sur last February 17.

The governor was hurt while four of his aides were killed in the attack.

Tamayo said that Baramuto is considered the fifth most wanted person by the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the most wanted person in Lanao del Sur.

The suspect, who was presented to the South Cotabato media, is facing murder, a non-bailable offense.

Tamayo said that Baratumo was placed under the custody of the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office in Koronadal City.

He will be turned over to the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, the official added.

Earlier this month, authorities killed the alleged principal suspect in the ambush of Adiong.

In a statement, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said the suspect, Oscar “Tacmar” Capal Gandawali, fired at the authorities who were out to arrest him in Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

Police said Gandawali fired at the law enforcers, prompting the arresting team to retaliate, killing the suspect. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)