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1 Maguindanao massacre suspect arrested

KIDAPAWAN CITY –Authorities nabbed on Saturday in a town in Maguindanao a suspect in the Ampatuan massacre and another villager who was caught carrying an illegal firearm, a top military official said.

Lt. Col. Donald Hongitan, commander of the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion, identified those apprehended as Dexon Saptula, also known as Mohammad Adam, and Toto Pamanay, alleged member of the 106th Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Hongitan said the arrests were led by the operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) under Supt. Wilson Denamarca.

The suspects, according to the Army official, were collared inside the construction warehouse of a banana plantation located at Barangay Banaba in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao. Both work as security guards in the banana plantation using different names.

Armed with the warrants of arrest issued by Judge Jocelyn Reyes of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, the operatives apprehended Saptula and Pamanay at Datu Abdullah Sangki town, around 1:30 p.m., on Saturday. They recovered from the suspects an M16 armalite rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, and a fragmentation grenade.

Three more massacre suspects, allegedly working as security guards of the plantation, evaded arrests and are now subject of manhunt, according to Hongitan.

Saptula and Pamanay were immediately brought to the headquarters of the CIDG-ARMM in Maguindanao and would be flown to Metro Manila anytime next week for their commitment to the Bicutan Jail in Taguig City, authorities said.

Data showed that 114 of the 197 charged of murder of 58 people were arrested as of this date.