Suspect in brutal murder of 3 Besao youth arrested

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TUBO, Abra – Combined police operatives and intelligence agents successfully arrested the primary suspect in the brutal murder of 3 natives of Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province who went to look for eel in the town by virtue of a warrant for multiple murder in his alleged hideout at Kili, here, recently.

Police Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera, identified the arrested wanted individual as Marlon Batuli, a native of Sitio Baclingayan, Tabacda, Tubo, Abra who is also the No. 1. Top most wanted person (TWMP) in the Cordillera for the fourth quarter of this year.

He was arrested by the operating troops by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge

Elizabeth G. Bringas of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58, Bucay, Abra for murder under Criminal Case Nos. 1385-B-2019, 1386-B-2019, and 1387-B-2019.

Batuli had gone into hiding after confessing to Tubo local officials and tribal elders that he was responsible for the killing of Jansen “Ayban” Gabaen, Ronnie Macayba, and Pedro Sauyen, all of Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province who simply went to hunt for ell in the clean rivers of the municipality last May.

The three men went to fish in a river near the village of Baclingayan, Tubo, Abra but failed to return home after a week. A search party from Agawa sought the help of barangay officials of nearby Kili, Tubo, Abra and were able to find the shot, stabbed, and mutilated bodies on May 27, 2019 near the river thus creating an uproar in Agawa and nearby barangays of Gueday, Lacmaan, Ambagiw, and Tamboan. This alarmed the Baclingayan tribesmen who anticipated revenge attacks, and thus recalled home their children studying in other municipalities of Abra and Mountain Province.

Acting with urgency, Dickson immediately brought together the Provincial Peace & Order Council Chairmen of Abra and Mountain Province, the Municipal Peace & Order Council of Tubo and Besao, and the leadership of the BPOC’s and Council of Elders of the affected barangays into a peace forum on July 16, 2019 at Camp Bado Dangwa.

The forum surfaced the issues of the contending barangays, and resulted in commitments to work as one in ensuring that no further violence would occur. A pledge to work for resolution of the murders in order to afford justice for the families and relatives of the slain men was also extracted from all participants.

Invoking the “Whole-of-Nation” Approach by tapping both the mandated political local government structures and the indigenous public management systems appears to have paid off with these recent development. This proven formula shall hence be a standard by PROCOR in addressing the various conflicts that may arise in the Cordilleras.

By Dexter A. See

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