THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police on New Year’s Day bared its accomplishments for the year 2014, with the arrest of nearly 5,000 persons wanted by the law for various criminal offenses topping them.
The CIDG chief, Director Benjamin Magalong, said in a statement on Thursday that they were able to apprehend a total of 4, 835 wanted criminals from January 1, 2014 to December 27, 2014.
According to Magalong, 32 out of the 4,835 were most-wanted persons, with the government offering huge rewards for their arrest.
The CIDG chief said among those arrested were the top two leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma.
The Tiamzons, who each carries a P10-million reward, were arrested in a joint operation by the CIDG and the military in Carcar City, Cebu, on March 22, 2014, Magalong said in the statement.
He added that the Tiamzon couple were arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest for murder, multiple-murder and frustrated murder in connection with the communist party’s Operation Venereal Disease.
The operation was carried out by communist rebels from 1985 to 1992 that saw the killing of at least 100 suspected military spies and civilians within the communist underground movement.
The suspected military spies and civilians were reportedly abducted, tortured before executed by rebels and then buried in Sitio Sapang Daco in Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte.
Magalong said they arrested a ranking NPA leader in Bajada, Davao City, last May 7, whom he identified as Roy Erecre, who carries a P5.4-million reward for his arrest.
He cited as another significant accomplishment the apprehension of a key leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Khair Mundos.
Military sources said Mundos was sent to Manila to scout the routes to be taken by Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to the country January 15 to 19.
Mundos was arrested by members of CIDG and Philippine Army at his alleged safehouse in Paranaque City (Metro Manila) on June 11, 2014.
The ASG leader, who carries a reward of P5.3 million for his arrest, was nabbed by virtue of warrants for murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder issued by various courts.
The US Reward for Justice also offers a $5-million reward for the capture of Mundos, who was tagged as behind some deadly bombings and also the alleged financial conduit of the ASG to the al-Qaeda network.
CIDG men arrested last September 23 in Leganes, Iloilo, another communist rebel leader identified as Norberto Castor alias Greg and Marlon, who was wanted for multiple murder and frustrated murder with the use of explosive.
Magalong said Castor was the deputy secretary of the Central Front of Regional Committee-Panay and was running the group in Tapaz and Jamindan towns in Capiz and in Calinog town of Iloilo.
The rebel leader has a bounty of P2.3 million offered by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The CIDG said they neutralized ASG member Sihata Muallom Asmad alias Sihata Latip and Ka Tatang during an operation last November 22 in a remote village in Parang, Sulu.
Latip was killed when he resisted arrest in Barangay Duyan Kaha in Parang.
Asmad reportedly took part in kidnappings that included that of 10 members of Jehovah’s Witness who were also workers at Golden Harvest Plantation over a decade ago in Sulu.
He reportedly also took part in the abduction of 21 tourists from a Malaysian dive spot in Sabah a few yeas ago.
Magalong said in the statement that Asmad also carries a reward of P5.3 million offered by the government.
The CIDG chief added that in March 2014, another ASG member—Abdulgappar
Imambakal–was arrested in Malusu, Basilan.
Imambakal was wanted for frustrated murder and murder.
Carrying a reward of P1million offered by the DND and DILG, he allegedly participated in a recent clash in Al Barka, Basilan, that left 19 soldiers dead.
The CIDG chief said they have activated Special Task Group Pivot upon the directive of DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd to run after criminal groups whose members are hitmen, robbers and drug traffickers operating in Metro Manila.
Among those captured by Pivot were 17 leaders and 60 members of different criminal gangs that had been wreaking havoc in Metro Manila, among them Alvin Nidua, leader of the gun-for-hire Nidua Group, which also operates in the Bicol Region.
Magalong said Nidua was arrested on August 13, 2014 in Taguig City (Metro Manila).
Raymond Mangali, leader of the Mangali gun-for-hire group and listed as the 3rd most- wanted man in the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area was apprehended in Tanza, Navotas City, on September 27, 2014.
Magalong said Arnulfo Tolin, leader of Tolin Group involved in 24 robberies, car thefts and “contracts” in Pangasinan and also the Bicol Region, was arrested last November 7 in Malolos City (Bulacan).
Other notorious criminals arrested by CIDG were Oliver de Guzman alias Hooker (robbery and drug trafficking), Danilo de Paz (robbery) and Marcos Morallos (robbery and summary killing).