Tag Archive: Agrimero Cruz


An alleged student of slain Malaysian bomb expert Marwan who is himself wanted for carrying out bombings, was arrested in Panaon, Misamis Occidental, Saturday afternoon, a police official said.

Arrested was Abdul Malik Sali, a member of the Al Khobar group, Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.

Elements of the Panaon Police and the PNP’s anti-terror Special Project: Mindanao Khilafah Islamiyah arrested Sali at a checkpoint along the National Highway around 5:30 p.m., Cruz said in a text message.

Operatives carried out the arrest on warrants for multiple murder with frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder, he said.

Sali is believed to be behind two bombing incidents in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, and Digos City, Davao del Sur, where several lives were lost, Cruz said.

He is a “member of the Al Khobar terrorist group under the umbrella of the group of Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan,” the police official said.

Sali’s arrest came almost two months after Marwan, a suspect in the deadly 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, was killed in a raid by the PNP Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.

The raid, however, also cost the lives of 44 SAF members as armed Moro groups ganged up on the police commandos.

In 2008, the Department of Interior and Local Government announced a P400,000 reward for anyone who can help authorities capture Sali, one of the suspects in the bombing of a Metro Shuttle Bus in September 1 that year.

The incident killed at least five people and injured 30 others.

Same bounties were offered for Sali’s fellow bombing suspects Mahir Abu Bakr and Jonaria Mindiba.

Al Khobar is a group of extortionists based in the marshlands of Maguindanao and are responsible for the spate of bombings in Central Mindanao since 2006, according to a statement issued by the PNP in 2013.

The group was allegedly created to support the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and other foreign militant jihadist groups.

It was intended to serve as a special unit concentrating on using explosives and carrying out extortion schemes across Cotabato, until it transformed into a kidnap-for-ransom gang and, much later, into an extortion group, according to the police statement. (John Roson)

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Authorities arrested the leader of the so-called “Martilyo Gang” during an operation in Ozamis City Friday morning, police said.

Glenn Tayrus was arrested at a popular fastfood chain’s branch along Don Bernad ave. around 9 a.m., Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz said.

Elements of the Cagayan de Oro City Police, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Regional Special Operations Group, and 10th Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit carried out the arrest on a warrant for robbery with violence against persons, Cruz said.

Tayrus is one of the principal suspects in robbing a branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines and a pawnshop in Cagayan de Oro in November 2013 and December 2014, respectively, he said.

Tayrus is tagged as the National Police’s most wanted person among crime groups, being the leader of the Martilyo Gang that operates nationwide, Cruz said, citing records of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The gang, whose members use hammers in staging holdups, has been blamed for two heists inside the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City in January and December 2013.

It can be recalled that those incidents had prompted the National Capital Region Police to ask mall managements to control, if not prohibit, the sale of hammers inside their premises. (John Roson)

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photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The number of fatalities in the suspected car bomb explosion in Zamboanga City rose to two while the injured now stand at 52, authorities said Saturday.

This developed as it was learned that all police units in Mindanao had been placed under the highest alert status due to “threats of terrorism,” hours before the blast.

The second fatality was identified as Dennis Valiente, Zamboanga City Police director Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro said in a text message.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

Valiente, 33, expired around 8:30 p.m. while undergoing treatment at the Western Mindanao Medical Center (WMMC), according to an emailed report from the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police.

Ten of the injured, including policeman SPO1 Sanzibal Laha Bajari, remain at the WMMC, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Ciudad Medical Center, Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center, and the Doctors Hospital as of Saturday, according to the report.

Members of the 9th Regional Crime Laboratory Ofice are still trying to determine the type of improvised explosive that went off, Casimiro said.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The military said earlier that Friday’s 3:30 p.m. explosion came from a red Toyota sedan parked beside the Fantasy disco bar in Brgy. Guiwan.

The bar is just in front of the Guiwan bus terminal.

Members of the military’s Task Group Zamboanga (TGZ) and policemen cordoned the area while forensics teams gathered materials to determine the type of improvised explosive device that went off.

Superintendent Ariel Huesca, Zamboanga City Police spokesman, said Friday night that additional policemen from the 9th Regional Public Safety Battalion and TGZ have also been scattered in and around the city to conduct checkpoints.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The explosion occurred while government troops are conducting an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in neighboring Basilan province.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for several bombing incidents in Zamboanga City in the past.

Abu Sayyaf retaliation eyed

A senior police official said Saturday that the bombing in Brgy. Guiwan may have been a retaliation for a foiled attempt to spring Abu Sayyaf members from the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center.

“It’s the foiled jail escape,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Jail guards foiled the plot on January 19, after finding three guns and more than 100 ammunition inside two cells of the ZCRC.

The firearms and ammunition, which were supposed to be used in the escape of 57 Abu Sayyaf inmates, were hidden inside two concrete stoves brought in by a woman, according to a report from the regional police.

Entire Mindanao on full alert

Meanwhile, another police official said Saturday that all police units in Mindanao had been placed under the highest alert status before the explosion in Zamboanga City.

“All of Mindanao is in full alert… It took effect Friday morning,” Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a text message.

National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina ordered the raising of the alert status, Cruz said.

Cruz, in a statement emailed Friday night, said he directed all police units in his region to observe the status in light of “threats of terrorism” and the IED explosion in Zamboanga.

Full alert, the highest among three police alert statuses, means that all policemen in affected units should be available for duty.

The implementation of full alert in Northern Mindanao comes with “target-hardening” measures, 24/7 checkpoints, deployment of EOD and K-9 units at bus terminals, maximized police visibility in areas of convergence, and border patrols, Cruz said.

“Surprise random checkpoints are also implemented,” he said.

Northern Mindanao is connected to the Zamboanga Peninsula in the west by Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte.

The region’s two highly urbanized cities – Cagayan de Oro and Iligan – experienced bombings by the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants in recent years.

“While the PNP enourages vigilance, the public is advised not to panic… Community members are encouraged to report suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest police station,” Cruz said in his statement. (John Roson)

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(Update 10 p.m.) A man was killed while 48 other people were injured when an improvised bomb exploded beside a disco bar in Zamboanga City Friday afternoon, authorities said.

“One died while forty-five persons were wounded in the IED (improvised explosive device) explosion,” Zamboanga City police spokesman Superintendent Ariel Huesca said in a text message Friday night.

Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that the number of injured later rose to 48, as per the city government’s tally.

The victims were brought to the Western Mindanao Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital and Doctors Hospital, Huesca said.

Killed was Reynaldo Tan, while the injured include a person who is “critically wounded” and a policeman, city police information officer SPO2 Alex Mabalot said by phone.

‘Blast came from car’

The blast came from a car parked beside the Fantasy Disco Pub in Brgy. Guiwan, Muyuela said, citing information from the Task Group Zamboanga (TGZ).

The explosive was “encased” in a red Toyota sedan (WOH-608) owned by one Ralph Lakibul, a resident of Brgy. Canelar, according to a separate military report.

“Hindi totally nawasak ‘yung kotse, mare-recognize mo pa ‘yung porma niya na kotse, pero nakataas na ‘yung hood,” Mabalot said.

The site of the 3:30 p.m. explosion is located just across the street in front of the Guiwan Bus Terminal, he added.

Security tightened

Members of the TGZ and policemen have cordoned the area, Muyuela said.

Post-blast investigation was still ongoing Friday night “to determine the signature/type of IED used by the perpetrators,” Huesca said.

“Undetermined pa kung ano ang sumabog, maraming version, we are still waiting for the EOD (explosives and ordnance disposal unit) to report,” Mabalot said.

Additional policemen from the 9th Regional Public Safety Battalion and TGZ have also been scattered in and around the city to conduct checkpoints, Huesca said.

The explosion occurred while security forces are conducting an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in neighboring Basilan province.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for several bombing incidents in Zamboanga City in the past.

Northern Mindanao alerted

Meanwhile, policemen in the neighboring region of Northern Mindanao were placed under full alert – the highest among three alert statuses – after the explosion in Zamboanga City.

All police units were told to observe the status in light of the IED explosion and “threats of terrorism,” regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a statement.

The full alert status comes with “target-hardening” measures, 24/7 checkpoints, deployment of EOD and K-9 units at bus terminals, maximized police visibility in areas of convergence, and border patrols, he said.

Northern Mindanao is connected to the Zamboanga Peninsula in the west by Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte.

The region’s two highly urbanized cities – Cagayan de Oro and Iligan – already experienced bombings by the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants in recent years.

“While the PNP enourages vigilance, the public is advised not to panic… Community members are encouraged to report suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest police station,” Cruz said. (John Roson)

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A 28-year-old woman in Kalibo, Aklan, died after being hit by a stray bullet during the New Year’s Eve revelry, police said.

Mayette Miranda expired in the hospital due to a bullet wound to the right side of the chest, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas regional police director, said.

Miranda, a resident of Tapo-tapo Ave., Brgy. New Buswang, Kalibo, was brought to the St. Gabriel Hospital but expired around 8 a.m. Tuesday, PO3 Nida Gregas, public information officer at the Aklan Provincial Police, said.

Earlier, police reported that Miranda was one of three people who were injured by stray bullets in Western Visayas during New Year’s Eve.

The two others, identified as Teresita Cansancio, 62, of Brgy. Talacuan, Leon, Iloilo; and Eduardo Tavarra, 74, of Tigbauan, Iloilo, are reportedly in stable condition.

Cansancio suffered a bullet wound to the left shoulder while Tavarra suffered a bullet wound to the left arm.

“We are still trying to identify the perpetrators, the cases are still under investigation,” Cruz said. (John Roson)

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2 kids injured in Capiz blast

Two children were seriously injured when a grenade exploded at a house in Ivisan, Capiz, on Monday, police said.

Jhon Rey Dayan and Jerry Boy Valderama, both 12 years old, were taken to the Capiz Provincial Hospital immediately after the explosion, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas regional police director, said.

The explosion occurred at the home of Dayan’s father, Norie, in Sitio Pinamasawan, Brgy. Ilaya, around 10:15 a.m.

Investigation showed that the children found the M203 grenade rifle ammunition and tried to open it, Cruz said.

The children are already in stable condition Tuesday, but one of them lost both his feet, Senior Supt. Domingo Cabillan, Capiz Provincial Police director, said. (John Roson)

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A man beheaded his 70-year-old mother inside their home in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, on Tuesday then placed her head beside their Christmas tree, police said.

Nenita Aguirre’s remains were found inside their home in Brgy. 7 around 6:30 a.m., Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas regional police director, said.

Senior Insp. Roberto Mansueto, Moises Padilla Police chief, said one Wilfredo Semillano reported around 6 a.m. that his neighbor Aguirre was beheaded by her son.

Investigators found the woman’s head on a small table in the living room, and her body was discovered at the kitchen’s door, Mansueto said in his report.

Photos that came along with the report showed the head beside a Christmas tree on the table. The bolo used in the killing was found on a chair.

Police later arrested the victim’s 38-year-old son, Jojie Aguirre, who was found engaging in a drinking spree outside the house, Mansueto said.

The suspect’s shirt and short pants still had bloodstains when he was caught, according to the official.

The younger Aguirre reportedly suffers from alcohol addiction and was allegedly depressed over a family problem at the time of the killing, Mansueto said. (John Roson)

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4 killed, 7 hurt in Iloilo truck crash

Four people were killed while seven others were injured when the cargo truck they were riding slammed into a boulder and turned turtle in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, on Monday night, police said.

Killed were truck helpers Raul dela Cruz, 45; Franklin Jamilarin, 18; Richard Consumo Jr., 28, and Jose Penaflorida, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas regional police director, said.

Injured were Delmar Allanza, 19; Jonil dela Cruz, 19; Rolando Doquila, 45; Frankee Jamelarin, 16; Joey Casipi, 16; Tito Basios, and Jonel Casipe, also truck helpers.

The injured were all brought to the Don Ramon Tugbang Medical Center and Barotac Viejo District Hospital, Cruz said.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. while the six-wheeler truck (FLD-904) was passing through Brgy. Puerto Princesa, heading towards Barotac Viejo town proper.

The truck, loaded with palay, suddenly lost its brake, rammed a boulder along the highway, and turned turtle, Cruz said. (John Roson)

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Quake shakes Western Visayas

A magnitude-5.8 earthquake shook several parts of Western Visayas on Wednesday, but no damages or casualties have so far been reported, authorities said.

Maj. Enrico Ileto, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said the quake was felt in Iloilo City past 1 p.m.

Several residents of the city’s La Paz and Jaro districts reportedly went out of their homes during the quake, Ileto said by phone.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred about 4 kilometers north-northwest of Brgy. Linaon in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.

Capt. Leo Christopher Cunanan, spokesman of Army’s 303rd Brigade based in Murcia, said the quake was felt at his office in Bacolod City, which is more than 100 kilometers away from Cauayan.

“There are no reports yet on damages or casualties,” Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas regional police director, said in a text message.

“All police units have been alerted for possible aftershocks,” he added.

The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology said the 1:21 p.m. quake was tectonic in origin and pegged the magnitude at 5.8.

It said Intensity V was felt in Binalbagan, Hinobaan, and Hinigaran, all of Negros Occidental; as well as Iloilo City.

Intensity IV was felt in Sigma, Capiz; Alimodian, Bago City; Nueva Valencia, Guimaras; and Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.

Intensity III was felt in Dao, Capiz; Sipalay, Negros Occidental; Patnongon, San Jose, and Culasi, in Antique; Masbate; and Lezo, Aklan.

Intensity II was felt in Canlaon City and Murcia, Negros Occidental, as well as in Dipolog City of Zamboanga del Norte, Phivolcs said. (John Roson)

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The Western Visayas regional police has placed 315 barangays in its “watchlist” for next year’s midterm elections, higher than those listed in the previous polls.

The figure is higher compared to 49 in previous elections, Senior Supt. Manuel Felix, Western Visayas deputy regional police director for administration, said.

Of the current count, 226 are listed as “election areas of immediate concern” and 89 are classified as election areas of concern.

“Lumobo ang bilang ng ating hotspots dahil rin sa criteria na ating sinusundan,” Felix said in a statement.

“Sabihin na natin na nag-over estimate kami but we are guided by criteria in tagging a barangay in our watchlist,” he said.

Negros Occidental has 126 barangays in the watchlist, followed by Capiz which has 77, Iloilo with 75, Antique – 17, Aklan and Iloilo City with nine each, and Bacolod City – two. Guimaras has no reported hotspot.

“Tuloy-tuloy po ang monitoring sa mga lugar na ito at tayo naman ay gumagawa ang kaukulang hakbang para matugunan ang problema o isyu sa mga EWAs,” Felix said.

Meanwhile, Felix announced that intelligence operatives are still monitoring five “inactive” private armed groups in the region.

Even the groups are inactive, they could not just be deleted in the PNP’s watchlist, he said.

“Sinubaybayan ng ating mga intelligence operatives ang mga grupong ito dahil baka gagamitin ulit sila ng iilang politiko sa darating na halalan,” Felix said.

Private armed groups can only be stricken out of the list if their leaders and majority of their members are either arrested or killed, he noted. (John Roson)

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