Another fugitive in the decade-old Maguindanao massacre case was arrested on Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) announced.
Over 10 years after evading arrest, Gambayan Kasim, alias Lori Arip, was apprehended at his home in Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao, the PTFoMS said.
This is the second successful arrest of the 80 remaining suspects involved in the mass murder of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao.
Kasim's arrest happened just three days after Faisal Dimaukom, the first fugitive, was nabbed by authorities in Kabinge village in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
Just like Dimaukom, police also recovered a hand grenade from Kasim.
Kasim was nabbed following the issuance of an arrest warrant by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
Kasim is now under police custody.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar welcomed the latest development, and guaranteed that the government would work harder to arrest the 78 other suspects who remain on the loose.
Two down, 78 to go, Andanar, who also serves as PTFoMS co-chair, said in a statement.
We are counting down to the eventual capture of all those involved in this gruesome episode in our history. As I've said before, it's not going to be easy, but we will be relentless in pursuing them. They can run, they can hide, but we will catch them one way or the other," he added.
Kasim's companion, Edsrail Guiomla, was killed after his supposed attempt to fire at the arresting police officers.
On Dec. 20, 2019, Solis-Reyes sentenced Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr., and several others to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment without parole.
The three Ampatuans are the prime suspects in the gruesome killings of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009.
On Dec. 9, 2019, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge, Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa issued a nationwide alert for hunting the suspects.
PTFoMS executive director Joel Sy Egco said the arrest of the two suspects demonstrates that Gamboa's order is "effective."
The intensified nationwide manhunt for the remaining suspects as ordered by PNP OIC, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa is truly effective. Two suspects arrested in a span of three days is nothing to sneeze at," Egco said.
The PTFoMS vowed to monitor the developments in the ongoing manhunt operations for the other suspects.
Source: Philippines News Agency