Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:20
COTABATO CITY - After hiding for more than two years, one of the suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre finally fell into government hands.
Zacaria Akil, a Maguindanaon and one of the henchmen of massacre suspect former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., was arrested by joint operatives of the Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police (PNP), said Marine Colonel Alex Balutan, chief of the 1st Marine Brigade.
Balutan said state forces received information from a very reliable tipster that Akil will be coming to Cotabato City on board a passenger van from Maguindanao.
"Our informant was very accurate, he provided the van type, plate number, color and the expected time of arrival in the city," Balutan told reporters.
Akil did not resist but denied the allegations against him saying his arrest could be a case of mistaken identity.
The Marines and police special forces were armed with arrest warrants issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Reyes when they flagged down the vehicle carrying Akil around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Balutan said Akil underwent a tactical investigation at the Task Force Kutawato headquarters before he was turned over to the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
A week earlier, police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) arrested Sonny Pandi, said to be the aide of massacre primary suspect Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. in front of a hotel here after a month-long surveillance.
Balutan said the help of the civilian populace against law violators is very vital as proven in the arrest of Akil.
"We expect more cooperation from the constituents," Balutan said, adding: "It would be best for massacre suspects to show up, surrender and clear themselves before the court of justice than continue hiding."
Akil was the 99th suspect who fell to government hands.
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