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PIA Press Release

Soldiers arrest peer suspect in indiscriminate firing in ComVal

by Cpt Emmanuel R Garcia (INF)

Camp Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City (25 June) -- Soldiers in Compostela Valley province hunted and arrested one of their own who is a suspect in killing one individual in a case of domestic dispute and indiscriminate firing in the village of Iloco Nuevo in Mawab town 4:15 PM today.

Troops of 72nd Infantry Battalion (72IB) tailed and arrested Technical Sergeant Fredo Argueles who is believed to be responsible in the death of a certain Freddie Neri, 49 years old and wounding of six others identified as James Teodocio, 39; Ramel Bakayan, 22; Mark Eric Esada, 20; Predy Manegos, 16; Rene Rulona, 25 and Teddy Pastores, 24 who were rushed by responding police and soldiers to the nearest hospital.

Reports show that about 11:50 PM of June 22, a drunk Argueles and his wife were having heated arguments and in the course of the dispute, Argueles took his M14 rifle, walked out of their hut and fired his weapon directed outside while walking out of the detachment.

Soldiers were able to catch-up with the suspect at around 3:00 PM today in a banana plantation and worked for his peaceful surrender but negotiations bogged-down when the suspect fired at the arresting troops and an exchange of fire ensued which wounded the suspect who was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital.

"We tried everything to make him surrender peacefully. We encouraged him to lay down his weapon so that he can face his case in the proper court but he fired at the troops. We want him to surrender peacefully but we are prepared to use force to subdue and arrest him so that he can face justice and put him in jail if found guilty," said Lt. Col. Norman Zuniega, commander of 72IB.

Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, commander of 10th Infantry Division condoled with the family of the victim and sent a team led by 1Lt. Salvacion Conejos together with religious leaders and Village officials to look out for the needs of the victim's family and said help will be extended.

"We are deeply saddened by the turn of events and we condole with the victim's family. We understand that any help extended will not bring back the life of the victim but we will make necessary arrangements to alleviate the sufferings of the family of Neri and of other victims. Our troops have arrested the suspect and we will make sure that he will face the full force of the law. We will not tolerate crimes perpetrated by anyone, even one of our own. Rest assured that justice will be served," Holganza said.

"The swift action of the troops shows that we are serious in our task to put criminals behind bars. We will see to it that justice prevails even if the perpetrators were our own men; and especially if they were our own men," Holganza concluded. (PA) [top]

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