A MAN wanted for killing his 64-year-old Fiilipino-Australian employer and burying her body in a shallow pit in her residence in Nagcarlan, Laguna, in 2008 is now in jail after being tracked down in his hiding place in Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte, on Thursday, a report to Police Regional Office 4-A (PRO 4-A) Director Brigadier General Jose Melencio C. Nartatez Jr. said yesterday.
“We have caught a wanted thief-murderer who has been (in hiding) for the past 14 years with the help of informants. This is the result of the good partnership between the police and the community,” said Laguna Police Provincial Office (LPPO) Director Col. Randy Glenn G. Silvio.
According to the official, a tracker team from the Laguna PPO Special Operations Unit, with the assistance of the Roxas Municipal Police Station (MPS), arrested the suspect in his hiding place in Barangay Lower Irasan in Zamboanga del Norte at 11:55 a.m. Thursday.
The suspect is the subject of a warrant of arrest for murder and qualified theft with no bail recommended by Judge Agripino G. Morga of the San Pablo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32.
Silvio said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also offered a P90,000 bounty for the capture of the suspect, who was immediately apprised of his constitutional rights before being taken to the Roxas Police Station for proper documentation.
The Laguna Police director said that a record check showed that the accused went into hiding after he was charged in connection with the killing of his employer Zenaida Banhan on November 4, 2008.
An investigation showed that the accused hit the victim’s head with a piece of stone, killing her on the spot. To cover up his crime, the suspect buried the victim in the foundation pit of her unfinished property in Barangay Maravilla in Nagcarlan municipality.
After disposing of the victim’s body, the suspect ransacked the Filipina-Australian’s residence and stole several of her valuables before escaping. “It was believed that the suspect used the valuables he stole from the victim to facilitate his escape,” said Silvio.
The official said that his men, led by Majors Edison B. Ouano and Merben Bryan M. Lago and Lt. Sergio C. Amaba conducted extensive research to track down the suspect with the help of the victim’s relative and other government agencies.
He said that the hunt for the elusive suspect brought his men to several places in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, where they gathered significant details regarding his possible whereabouts and hiding places.
“We later received information that the accused managed to get a job as a contractual employee – actually a lineman at the Roxas Municipal Hall in Zamboanga del Norte wherein he used the fake name ‘Raynold Bantiles’ to escape the eyes of authorities and live with his new family,” Silvio said.
The official said that their verification with different government agencies in the province showed that “Raynold Bantiles” and “Ranulo Aguit Linawagan” are one but the same person.
“My men made the arrest after confirming the true identity of the wanted thief-killer,” said Silvio.
He said that they will also be filing a separate criminal case for violation of Article 178 of the Revised Penal Code, otherwise known as “using (a) fictitious name and concealing true name” against the suspect.
Nartatez commended the Laguna PPO for their latest accomplishment in their campaign against wanted persons in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region.
The PRO 4-A chief earlier ordered the police provincial offices to further intensify their effort against wanted criminals, loose firearms, robbery-holdup, and illegal drugs in the region.