GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Police arrested in South Cotabato on Thursday, May 25, the suspected brains behind the February 17 ambush that hurt Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. and killed four of his police escorts.
Soccsksargen police director Brigadier General Jimili Macaraeg identified the arrested suspect as 42-year-old Lomala Baratamo alias Commander Lomala of Bato-bato, Maguing town in Lanao del Sur.
Macaraeg said the suspect was arrested at a police checkpoint in Sitio Morales, Barangay Centrala, Surallah town in South Cotabato.
He said Baratamo had a warrant of arrest for murder – a non-bailable case – issued by Judge Samina Sampaco Macabando-Usman of the Regional Trial Court Branch 8 in Marawi City.
The suspect has been on top of the police’s list of most wanted people in Lanao del Sur.
Baratamo’s arrest came weeks after authorities killed another suspect, Oscar Capal Gandawali alias Tacmar, during a joint military and police operation in Lanao del Sur on May 3. Gandawali fought back, according to authorities.
Gandawali, according to Brigadier General Yegor Barroquillo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, had served as the top aide of Baratamo. The military identified the arrested suspect in an earlier interview as “Lomala Baratamo Mandoc.”
Speaking to newsmen at the headquarters of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur, early this month, Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr. said Baratamo or Mandoc was the only suspect in the Lanao del Sur ambush not caught by authorities.
The February ambush resulted in the deaths of Adiong’s police escorts, police patrolmen Juraiz Adiong, Aga Sumandar, and Jalil Cosain, and driver Hassanor Pundaodaya.Macaraeg said Baratamo was in the custody of the South Cotabato police and will be handed over to the Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office. – Rappler.com
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