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Ex-Abra governor nabbed in Makati condo

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 06:12:00 09/02/2009

Filed Under: Murder, Crime and Law and Justice

MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE) After weeks of search, police have finally arrested former Abra governor Vicente Valera in Makati City late Tuesday night, police said on Wednesday.

Valera was nabbed at a posh condominium unit at Unit 3K, Hidalgo Towers in Rockwell, by elements of Task Force Bersamin at around 10:30 p.m., Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa said.

Elements of Task Force Bersamin served the arrest warrant for frustrated murder and two counts of murder against Valera, but was initially met by resistance from Valera?s daughter, Anne, said Director Magtanggol Gatdula, head of the task force.

?We were initially met with resistance from her daughter, who claimed that Valera was not there, but we were 101 percent sure he was,? Gatdula said in a press conference.

Eventually, Valera willingly presented himself to police and was brought, without handcuffs, to the PNP Custodial Center where he was placed under detention.
No bail is set for Valera?s temporary release.

Valera has an arrest warrant for the 2006 murder of Abra Representative Luis Bersamin.

Meanwhile, one of the accused, Sgt. Leo Bello, surrendered to authorities in Camp Karingal Wednesday afternoon with his wife and son, said PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Leonardo Espina.

Gatdula said police are still looking for the last remaining suspect in the incident, identified as Jerry Turqueza.

Bersamin?s daughter, Chary, welcomed the arrest of Valera, saying, ?We have never stopped praying for this time.?

?We are very, very thankful that Valera was caught already. It is so hard for me to remember again what happened with my dad. With his arrest and the movement of our case, our family will finally be able to fully recover,? an emotional Chary told media.

During the conference, the Bersamin family gave P500,000 to an informant who pointed Valera?s whereabouts to police.

Gatdula said that Valera initially expressed willingness to surrender in December 2008, but because of an ?intervening event,? the former governor instead went into hiding.
This ?intervening event? was the confiscation of several high-powered firearms from Valera?s vehicle, Gatdula said.

With Valera?s arrest, the police are confident that the death of Bersamin could be resolved.

?This case is a confidence-building measure to ease whatever political tension remains in the province of Abra, which has long experienced a dark history of political violence particularly during the incumbency of Governor Valera as Abra Governor,? Gatdula said.



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