MANILA – A suspected member of the notorious Lawin kidnapping group was killed while its leader and two other members were arrested in an operation in Antipolo City, the Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) said on Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Villaflor Bannawagan, chief of the Luzon Field Unit (LFU) of the PNP-AKG, identified the slain suspect as Nanestro Balderas alias “Payang” while those arrested were the group’s leader Juanito Aringoy alias “Lawin,” John Axel Gazer alias “Janjan,” and Sarah Jean Pimentel.
“Unfortunately, he resisted yun nga bumunot pa siya ng baril, yun nga lang nakapag-retaliate ang operatiba, na hit siya [Unfortunately, he resisted and he pulled out a gun, but the operatives retaliated and hit him],” Bannawagan told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday.
A search warrant operation against the suspects led to an armed encounter along Sitio Singalong, Barangay San Jose at around 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday.
The warrant was issued by Presiding Judge Rey Lor of the Antipolo, Rizal Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 71 for the kidnapping and murder of 39-year-old Efren Orea.
Balderas was accused of killing Orea in Antipolo City on Sept. 2, 2019.
Recovered from the suspects were three pieces of used cartridge case, an improvised shotgun (sumpak), one .38-caliber revolver, one .45-caliber pistol and drug paraphernalia.
Aside from kidnapping, the group has been involved in other crimes such as gun-for-hire, robbery, and illegal drugs in Rizal, particularly in Antipolo City and in the towns of Teresa and Baras.
Local businessmen are the usual targets of the group.
Monitoring of the group’s activities continue, Bannawagan said.
Aringoy was previously jailed for a drug case but was later released due to plea bargaining.
However, Aringoy denied his involvement in kidnapping but admitted to killing Orea over drug-related matters.
Operatives are now tracking down the other members who are still at large, Bannawagan said.
The suspects were brought to the headquarters of the AKG-LFU in Camp Crame, Quezon City for filing of appropriate charges. (PNA)