Coddler of kidnappers cornered soon — PACER

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — WE will get you sooner or later!

This was the assurance made by the chief of the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response as it continued its investigation into reports that a kin of a prominent political clan in Pangasinan ‘coddled’ members of a notorious robbery-holdup and kidnapping-for- ransom gang whose five members, four of them rogue military agents were killed in an encounter in Dagupan City last July 29.

“We have the dying testimony from one of the slain suspects who identified the kin of at least two incumbent elected local government officials in a Pangasinan town as the one allegedly coddling them,” PACER chief Senior Supt. Isagani R. Nerez said.

Nerez withheld the identity of the alleged kidnappers’ “coddler” and names of his relatives and their town pending the completion of their investigation.

“We are building up evidence against him prior to the filing of criminal charges,” Nerez said. He added they are particularly looking into claims that the suspect was the one who pinpointed possible victims to the syndicate that gained notoriety in Central and Northern Luzon starting in 2007.

Nerez said relatives of the slain suspects have sent words they are going to testify against the politicians’ kin once they have buried the slain men.

Four of the five armed suspects killed in an encounter with Philippine National Police agents in Dagupan City were found to be either dismissed or AWOL members of the Philippine Army, according to Nerez.

The suspects were identified as Corporal Eliseo Umuslan, 34, a resident of San Andres Bukid, Manila; and Private First Class Glenn Ares, 32, of Caalibangbangan, Cabanatuan City, who went AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave) from the Army in February 2004 and May 2009, respectively; Cpl. Joey Tindugan, 34, of Mlang, North Cotabato who was discharged from the Army service in 2007; and Staff Sergeant Jesus Matienzo Jr., 40, of Masbate, Masbate, who was fired from the military service in 2003.

All four yielded their respective military identification cards.

The fifth slain suspect was identified as Edgardo Estrella, 39, of Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.

PNP chief, Director General Jesus A. Verzosa said police have been monitoring the illegal activities of the gang with the help of the Army’s Intelligence Security Group and the Armed Forces’ Joint Special Operations Group.

“The neutralization of a well-armed criminal syndicate is one more example of what can be accomplished through inter-agency cooperation, well-coordinated operation and teamwork among law enforcement units,” Gen. Verzosa said as he gave credit to the pivotal support played by the AFP in neutralizing the suspects.