50 NBI AGENTS RAID BOY IRAN LAIR, NAB WRONG MAN

MANILA, OCTOBER 8, 2003 (MALAYA) By PRIAM NEPOMUCENO  - The NBI got another black eye as 50 agents yesterday raided a small community in Camarin, Caloocan and arrested a resident whom its intelligence services mistook for Eduardo "Boy Muslim" Iran, the suspect in the 1986 ambush slay of Antique Governor Evelio Javier.

NBI agents eventually released Fernando Ralston, 49, a businessman and a resident of Jasmin and Prime Rose sts., Capitol Park Homes, Camarin, in the city.

Ralston carries a Singaporean passport. His NBI record showed that he has no criminal record and that he was born in Singapore.

"The fingerprints on file of Iran and the person we arrested this morning are not one and the same. It turned out Iran and the person we arrested have similar features," said NBI assistant director Lolito Utitco.

He said the NBI could only hope "we might be lucky enough next time."

"We just conducted the arrest operation but were not the one involved in the case buildup," lawyer Marianito Panganiban of the NBI Special Task Force (STF) said.

Iran has been hiding for more than 17 years. NBI agents received intelligence reports claiming that the suspect was hiding in Camarin, Caloocan City. Around 50 agents on board seven vehicles raided the area at around 7:30 a.m.

During the arrest operation, a neighbor of Ralston, identified as Dolorosa Serial, was accidentally shot in the hand.

Aside from the Javier assassination, Iran also faces

kidnap-for-ransom, gun-for-hire, robbery, and holdup charges.

The PNP has tagged him among the most wanted criminals in the country, at one time offering P1 million for his capture.

In 1998, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) also tagged Iran as a would-be assassin of President Fidel Ramos.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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