BICOL COPS’ MAIN CHALLENGE: TRACKING DOWN A MOST WANTED CRIME GANG LEADER

July 20, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 194 views

SINCE the early 2000, Bicol policemen have tried but failed to get this ex-New People’s Army rebel who has become the region’s most wanted criminal, blamed for dozens of murder and extortion activities victimizing local politicians and businessmen.

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I’m referring to the ongoing effort of the Police Regional Office 5 headed by Brigadier General Jonnel Estomo to get a man named Gilbert Concepcion, described as the leader of the dreaded Concepcion Gang in Bicol who has eluded major operations launched by many Bicol police directors before Estomo.

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I was told that Estomo, a member of the Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992 who used to be a PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group director has made it a priority to get Concepcion and his cohorts who have gained notoriety for their involvement in gun-for-hire, illegal drug trafficking and gun-for-hire activities in Bicol.

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Concepcion is so big an anti-criminality target in Bicol that the PRO5 has called on the support of the local populace in getting him by providing valuable information that would lead to the whereabouts of the fugitive from law who has been described as an ex-NPA rebel who surrendered to the government, joined the Army and later became a deserter who formed his own crime gang.

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The suspect is said to be under the employ of some rogue local politicians who usually hire his service to ‘eliminate’ their political rivals. The suspect has become a ‘major target’ by the PRO5 as he had the temerity to even launch ambuscades on his pursuers.

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“We are going after this Gilbert and other members of the Concepcion Crime Group and other partisan armed gangs and lawless armed groups in the entire Bicol region as part of our continuing peace and order effort,” Brig. Gen. Estomo told me as he called on the help of the local community in locating the suspects.

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Since 2013, members of the gang have been blamed for dozens of unsolved murder cases in Bicol specifically in Libon, Albay where they have been accused of attacking soldiers, policemen and local government officials. The elusive Concepcion was also previously accused of killing his own relatives, I learned.

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However, Brig. Gen. Estomo cautioned his men to be extra-vigilant and take all necessary precaution in going after the Concepcion Gang since its leader and members have been described as ‘armed and dangerous.’

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Last Saturday, one heavily-armed member of the gang was killed in a gunbattle with local policemen in Libon, Albay. Suspect Ernany Maraño, a resident of Barangay Libtong in Libon died on the spot during the exchange of fire, said the Bicol police director. A caliber 9mm sub-machine gun with two magazines was recovered from the possession of the slain suspect.

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Members of the PRO5 Regional Special Operations Unit and Regional Drug Enforcement Unit led by Lieutenant Colonel Wilfredo Sy and Major Ramon Czar Solas and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Bicol Regional Field Unit headed by Col. Randy Glenn F. Silvio were involved in last Saturday’s operation.

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The policemen were about to serve warrants of arrest issued by the local court against members of the dreaded gang when they were ambushed by the suspects prompting them to retaliate. The body of the suspect was recovered during a search of the area. That’s also a sign that the ‘world is really getting smaller every day’ for the Concepcion Gang.

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The Libon encounter came three days before a mistah of Estomo, erstwhile PNP Crime Lab director, Brig. Gen. Steve Ludan became the 4th member of PMA Class 1992 to become a police regional director. Ludan is now the new PRO2 director in Cagayan Valley.

Apart from the two, the other members of the Class who are now doing good as RDs in the PNP are Brig. Gen. Bong Caramat of the PRO13 in Caraga region and Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee of the Cordillera police regional office.

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ANTIPOLO CITY, DPWH HITS AND MISSES

On a personal note, I would like to mention the ‘very good job’ being done by the Antipolo City local government under Mayor Andrea ‘Andeng’ Ynares and her husband-top consultant, former Mayor Jun Ynares when it comes to giving the anti-COVID-19 vaccine to local residents. It’s a ‘word of mouth thing’ with many people praising the quality of their service to the people.

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With the help of Robinson’s Place Antipolo, SM Masinag and SM Cherry, I-Mall, Ayala Feliz, the Ynares Events Center and the OLPS (Our Lady of Peace School) Antipolo, local residents have gotten their jabs inside air-conditioned facilities while under the care and full supervision of well-trained, courteous and very patient medical staff and other Antipolo local government employees. Congratulations to you all.

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However, I would like to again mention the failure of the local government to light up the ‘Welcome to Antipolo’ arc at the boundary of the city and Taytay which is supposed to welcome residents and visitors of the city at night. On Sunday and Monday, the sign remained the same: the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage standing there without any light to illuminate the revered icon and the supposed to be ‘Tayo na sa Antipolo’ sign. ‘Napakadilim dun Mayor.’

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Another matter that I would like to bring to the attention of the Ynares couple and DPWH Secretary Mark Villar is the presence of ‘sunken pavements’ at the middle of widened Siete y Media road near Robinson’s Antipolo. I think that last year, the cemented road was fully asphalted transforming it into a much better highway.

However, days after the DPWH Rizal asphalting project was completed, I noticed two big big ‘Warning, Sunken Pavement’ signs erected in the middle of the road prompting vehicles to evade it.

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Early this month, the DPWH Rizal again poured asphalt on the entire road covering that sunken pavement area. I thought that the problem has been addressed, with the sunken pavement fully repaired. But 2-3 days after the 2nd asphalting project was completed, those ‘Warning, Sunken Pavement’ signs were again placed in their previous positions. What does it mean? For compliance only?

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I am calling the attention of DPWH Sec. Villar, whom I believe is gunning for a national elective post in 2022, on this matter. Please do something to address the matter which I believe is not only happening in our dear city.

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