PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday announced the arrest of two of the country’s most wanted men who have been in hiding for over 15 years following separate manhunt operations conducted by agents of the PNP Intelligence Group.
He identified the two as Willer Advincula and Zaldy Zabala, both long in hiding after warrants for their arrest for murder were issued by the courts until they were tracked down in their hiding places by members of the PNP-IG headed by Brigadier Gen. Joseph Ulysses C. Gohel. No bail was recommended for the temporary liberty of the two fugitives.
Gen. Gamboa said the two were arrested following intelligence packets developed by Regional Intelligence Units of the PNP-IG. “This should send a clear message to criminals in hiding: you can run but you can never hide from the PNP. We are as determined as ever to go after criminals who have been eluding arrest for years, even decades,” he said.
Gohel said that Advincula was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest for murder issued by a court in 2005. The suspect is the subject of a P90,000 monetary reward offered by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He said the suspect was caught in his hiding place in Purok 2 in Barangay Kanaan in Kaputian District in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte by members of the Regional Intelligence Unit 11 and the Samal police last Tuesday.
On the other hand, Zabala was arrested by RIU1 agents in Bgy. 12 Namuroc in Vintar, Ilocos Norte also last Tuesday. The suspect is the subject of a P140,000 reward offered by the DILG.
Gen. Gamboa said police operatives are not only focused on public safety operations in response to the health crisis but are also continuously mounting and intensifying operations against persons wanted by the law for crime.
“Even in times of pandemic, our police operations and intelligence-driven initiatives are underway against criminals, threat groups, and most wanted persons,” he said.
The PNP chief said during the 1st semester of the year, police have arrested 387 members of various threat groups who also yielded 115 unlicensed firearms. He added that intelligence-driven anti-criminality operations during the period likewise resulted in the arrest of 594 suspects and the seizure of 119 various undocumented firearms.
Two weeks ago, agents of the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas captured ex-Dinagat Islands Representative Ruben Ecleo Jr., the country’s most wanted criminal during an operation in San Fernando City in Pampanga.
Ecleo, the subject of a warrant of arrest for parricide in connection with the murder of his wife in Cebu and another order from the Sandiganbayan which gave him a 30-year prison term after finding him guilty of graft and corruption has been turned over by the NCRPO to the Bureau of Corrections last Wednesday.