Ex-Abra gov arrested

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — POLICE finally arrested former Abra governor Vicente Valera at the posh condominium unit of his daughter in Makati City late Tuesday night after several weeks of massive manhunt.

Composite teams from Task Force Bersamin led by Director Magtanggol B. Gatdula, Quezon City Police District and Makati police nabbed Valera inside Unit 3K of Hidalgo Towers in Rockwell, Makati.

Valera went into hiding after Quezon City Judge Luisito Cortez ordered his arrest last Aug. 10 for the murder of former congressman Luis Bersamin and his police escort, SPO1 Adolfo Ortega, after they stepped out of the Mount Carmel Church in New Manila on Dec. 16, 2006.

Senior Supt. Franklin Mabanag, head of the QCPD District Mobile Group, said they served the warrant of arrest for Valera at 10:30 p.m.

Another suspect, ex-Army sergeant Leo Bello surrendered to the police yesterday accompanied by his wife and son. He is now undergoing interrogation at the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal.

Still being hunted by the police is Jerry Corteza, another suspect in the Bersamin murder case.

Valera’s wife Ching and daughter Anne were with him at the time of his arrest.

The lawyer-daughter of Valera denied that her father was inside her condo unit and even called up ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon for help.

“There was initial resistance from his daughter. She was denying that her father was in her unit but we insisted in searching the place because we have a warrant of arrest,” said Gatdula, head of the PNP Directorate for Information, Communications and Technology Management.

Valera was immediately taken to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame. He was supposed to be presented to the media at 1 p.m. yesterday but his blood pressure went up, prompting his escorts to bring him to the PNP General Hospital.

Bersamin’s daughter Charie thanked PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa, Gatdula and his men for finally accounting for Valera.

Gatdula said the ex-governor’s arrest was made following a tip from an informant who received P300,000 cash reward from the Bersamin family.

He said the statements by arrested suspects Sonny Taculao and Freddie Dupo, former Abra vice mayor, are the strongest evidence they have against Valera.