7 ‘disguised as cops, soldiers,’ nabbed while trying to enter Marawi

/ 06:41 AM July 28, 2017

Smoke billows from burning houses as fighting between government troops and Islamist militants continues in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on July 3, 2017. (AFP FILE PHOTO / FERDINAND CABRERA)

COTABATO CITY – Police arrested, on Wednesday, seven persons who disguised as members of the military and police, as they tried to enter Marawi City.

Chief Supt. Reuben Teodore Sindac, police director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said the suspects were in police and military uniform when they tried to enter Marawi from Iligan City, an act that made authorities suspicious of their motive.


Sindac identified the suspects as Ariel Bejaan, 45 of Cagayan de Oro City; Pacito Villanueva, 45, of Bukidnon; Junifer Adlawan Alestre, 52 of Valencia, Bukidnon; Bienvenido Sepe, 62 of Kabacan, North Cotabato; Florante Alejandrino, 38 of Cagayan de Oro City; Rufina Guyatao, 53 of Valencia, Bukidnon; and Elsie Lantong, 48, of Sumilao, Bukidnon.

Sindac said the suspects were on board a white Toyota Fortuner driven, by Leo Eliseo, 52, of Bukidnon, heading to Marawi City when flagged down by members of the Lanao del Sur PNP, led by Chief Inspector John Acasio of provincial public safety battalion, for inspection.


When checked, the suspects presented various identification cards from the Moro National Liberation Front and IDs showing they were military generals. They were also in military fatigue uniform.

“They claimed they were on a scheduled meeting in Marawi City with a member of the United Nations, named Capt. James Gothrie,” Sindac said in a statement.

Seized from them were fatigue uniforms, patches, mobile phones, and other paraphernalia. They were unarmed.

They will be charged with unauthorized use of military and police uniforms, according to Sindac.  SFM

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