MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to launch a manhunt for the alleged killer of a former Pangasinan vice mayor and his wife in March last year.
In a memorandum to NBI Director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, De Lima directed the agency “to immediately conduct manhunt operations and effect the warrant of arrest” against suspect Guialaludin Otto, alias “Boy Muslim,” tagged as the principal suspect in the slaying of former Lingayen Vice Mayor Ramon Arcinue and his wife Zorahayda, a barangay chair.
De Lima also wrote Philippine National Police, Director General Alan Purisima, for assistance in the hunt.
The couple were shot dead on March 7 last year by a lone gunman in front of their rented apartment in Sampaloc, Manila. The identity of the gunman, who walked toward España Boulevard and boarded a bus, was eventually established through the accounts of three witnesses.
Otto remains at large and is believed to be hiding in Mindanao, according to De Lima.
The suspect, said to be from Cotabato City, was described as being in his late 20s, about 5’5”, slim built, brown complexioned, oval-faced with straight hair and slit-eyed. He was also said to be a close-in bodyguard of an incumbent mayor in Pangasinan.
Otto was charged with two counts of murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest on Aug. 12, 2012, by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Marcelino Sayo Jr.
De Lima also called on the public to report to authorities any information they may have on the whereabouts of the suspect.
“It is our fervent hope that, before the first anniversary of the death of Mr. and Mrs. Arcinue, we could finally locate, arrest and bring the suspect to trial,” De Lima said in a statement.
“That is, of course, a goal in itself, but his apprehension will hopefully be another step toward uncovering the motivation behind the killings and, if indeed he was merely a gun-for-hire, we intend to follow the trail of evidence wherever it may lead and bring anyone else involved to justice,” she said.