2 Koronadal bombing suspects fall
- Jaime Laude () - May 25, 2003 - 12:00am
Two of the principal suspects in the deadly bombing of a public market in Koronadal City, South Cotabato that left 10 people dead and 42 others wounded last May 10 have been arrested.

At a news conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, PNP chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Armed Forces chief Gen. Narciso Abaya announced the arrest on Friday of Tayuan Dimaloloy, 35, and Jonie Mangadta, 41, in separate operations by joint police and military intelligence agents in Midsayap town in North Cotabato.

Superintendent Jose Pante, PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief in Central Mindanao, said the suspects initially matched the description of witnesses.

Both suspects were later positively identified by witnesses as among those who were present during the bombing, he said.

Pante said that three other suspects, whose names were withheld pending their arrest, are still being hunted down. Charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder have been filed against Dimaloloy and Mangadta.

The Koronadal bombing last May 10 was principally blamed on the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that was also tagged as behind the spate of bomb attacks that have killed more than 100 people in Mindanao since February.

Pante claimed Mangadta was a former commander of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Mangadta reportedly joined the MILF after the MNLF forged a peace agreement with the government in September 1996.

Police learned Mangadta was among the MILF rebels who surrendered to the government on Sept. 2 last year.

Pante accompanied personnel of the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) in personally bringing the two suspects to Manila for presentation to President Arroyo yesterday.

On the other hand, South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said she was not informed of the arrest of the two suspects.

"I don’t know what are their (arresting units) bases for arresting the alleged suspects because I was not informed about it," said Fuentes, who earlier blamed a failure of intelligence on the part of the police and military resulting in the bombing.

The governor claimed she only learned of the arrest from a local radio station in Koronadal City.

Relatives of the two suspects have called the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the "arbitrary arrest" made by government agents.

Evelyn Mangadta claimed the raiding police and military operatives failed to present a warrant for the arrest of her husband.

"Until now, we don’t know where they brought my husband. We are worried about his safety. We know nothing of his whereabouts," she said.

Mangadta claimed her husband had never been to Koronadal since most of his time was spent following up the livelihood assistance promised to them by the government after his surrender.

Relatives of Dimaloloy, for their part, claimed the suspect is a "peace-loving man," and, like Mangadta, has never gone to Koronadal City.

"We want to know where they are detained now so we can bring to them a lawyer that can help them clear themselves from the problem they are in now," said a relative of Dimaloloy, who asked not to be identified. With John Unson, John Paul Jubelag, Mike Frialde

CAMP CRAME CENTRAL MINDANAO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP DAISY AVANCE-FUENTES DIMALOLOY AND MANGADTA DIRECTOR GENERAL HERMOGENES EBDANE JR. AND ARMED FORCES EVELYN MANGADTA KORONADAL CITY MANGADTA SUSPECTS
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