‘Undas’ surprise: 20 fugitives caught, some at cemeteries
MABALACAT CITY—Their long-awaited reunion with their families on the “Day of the Dead” was not only cut short but also virtually ended in a jump scare.
A total of 20 fugitives were captured by authorities in Central Luzon during the “Undas” break, either in their homes or in cemeteries across the region.
Police Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr., director of Central Luzon police, said the various units under his command anticipated that some crime suspects would come out of hiding to reconnect with relatives on All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day.
“While our primary focus was to ensure the security and safety of the public in cemeteries, along the highways and in places of convergence, we also seized the opportunity to track down wanted individuals who returned home or visited the graves of their departed loved ones,” Hidalgo said in a statement on Friday.
The arrested suspects were facing criminal charges in court in different parts of Central Luzon, their cases ranging from murder and robbery to rape and drug dealing.
Hidalgo said two of the 20 arrested fugitives were among the region’s “most wanted.”
One of them, identified in the statement only as “Tano,” was the second most wanted and had been at large for almost a month after a Malolos court issued a warrant for his arrest for two counts of murder.
The police caught up with Tano when he showed up at a cemetery in Angat, Bulacan, on Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day.
Police Master Sgt. Romeo de Vera, chief intelligence officer of the Angat police, said the suspect was arrested at AmmanPark Pulong Yantok cemetery around 4 p.m.
“The suspect was about to leave the cemetery, walking toward the exit area, when we arrested him,” De Vera told the Inquirer on the phone on Friday.
Tano, a 43-year-old tricycle driver, had an outstanding warrant of arrest issued by Judge Caroline Soriano Roxas of the Malolos City Regional Trial Court Branch 84 for two counts of murder, with no bail recommended.
He was tracked down by a team composed of Angat police officers and others from the provincial and regional intelligence and mobile units.
Hidalgo said the police also managed to confiscate 32 bladed weapons, six videoke or karaoke machines, and several bottles of alcoholic drinks and playing cards at various cemeteries.
The Central Luzon command deployed some 4,000 officers at the cemeteries and along major highways during the break.
The were ordered to remain at their respective posts “until the last visitor leaves the premises of the cemetery,” Hidalgo added. INQ