PENTAGON GANG LEADER ARRESTED IN COTABATO

COTABATO CITY, September 30, 2003 (STAR) By John Unson  - Local operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested the other day a suspected leader of the Pentagon kidnapping syndicate operating a drug ring here.

Senior Inspector Romeo Espero, a senior staffer of PDEA’s local unit, said the suspect, Rahid Mano Mohammad, was caught handing over a pack of shabu to an agent during a buy-bust operation personally supervised by PDEA Regional Director Superintendent Donardo Torres.

Mano was the 11th drug pusher Torres and his men have arrested in different raids here in the past two weeks.

Espero said the PDEA has enlisted the help of other law enforcement agencies here, including the military’s intelligence community, to verify the exact identity of Mano, whose neighbors in Pansacala District have tagged as one of suspects in the kidnapping of Martina Martin, daughter of a rice mill operator in Libungan, North Cotabato three years ago.

Martin, then 33 years old, was held captive for almost four months in the Liguasan Marsh, a 220,000-hectare delta at the tri-boundaries of Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. She was freed only after her parents reportedly paid a P3 million ransom.

"For identification purposes, we have taken photos of the suspect now in our custody and we have sent copies to Ms. Martin, who is now residing in Manila. If he is indeed one of the victim’s abductors, he would have to be charged with kidnapping too," Espero said.

Sources in the intelligence communities of North Cotabato’s police and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division have confirmed that Mano, an ethnic Maguindanaon, has links with the Pentagon, whose leaders, Tahir Alonto and Mayangkang Saguile allegedly plotted the abduction of Martin three years ago.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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