QC cops file assault charges vs 21 cultists

Philippine Star/December 18, 2005
By Perseus Echeminada

The Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) has filed before the city prosecutor’s office charges of frustrated murder and direct assault upon person in authority against 21 Tadtad cult members, who attacked lawmen in North Fairview last Wednesday.

Superintendent Procopio Lipana, chief of the QCPD Criminal Investigation Division, said of the 21 accused, 13 are in police custody. Three remained confined at the East Avenue Medical Center while four others are at large.

Quezon City assistant prosecutor Reuben Ritzuko Verado, who conducted inquest proceedings against the suspects, has recommended P200,000 bail for each of the 21 accused.

Charged were Jonathan Navales, 24, Efren Verano, 46, Rolando Dipaling; 39, Florencio Palamos, 50; Erwin Panuelo, 18, Reynante Uba; 30, Ismael Mathus, 40, Romano Gicale, 20, Beunanventura Tude; 65, Arnulfo San Garios, 49, Eulalio Calpis, 36, Arnel Dipaling; 27 and Felix Rabago 48.

Still confined at the East Avenue Medical Center are Marcelo Ravalla; 43, Joven Rabago; 22, Celso Flores; 52.

Those at large were identified as Liza, Roberto and Alberto, all surnamed Gagarin and Grace Dipaling.

Police Officer 2 Wilfredo Calinao, who was wounded in the clash that resulted from an illegal takeover of a private lot, was the complainant in the frustrated murder charge while 12 policemen filed the direct assault charges.

The QCPD submitted as evidence a fragmentation grenade, caliber .38 and 357 revolvers, a Colt 45 pistol, a homemade shotgun, ammunition for various firearms, spent shells, amulets, PVC pipes laced with muriatic acid and a dagger with wooden scabbard.

QCPD director Chief Superintendent Nicasio Radovan Jr. said the policemen were responding to a complaint by a property owner.

The complainant said his 300 square-meter property on Dinar and Peseta streets in Phase 8 North Fairview was taken over by a group of armed men at 10:30 a.m. last Wednesday.

As the lawmen approached the property, one of the suspects threw a grenade. Calinao, was wounded in the blast.

The cultists, Radovan said, were acting as enforcers and protectors of a professional squatting syndicate in the area. The group often takes over vacant but titled lots by building illegal structures on them

The group, according to a report, has been able to take over several pieces of land in the area.

Radovan said a manhunt has been launched to arrest other gang members, who fled after Wedensday’s firefight.

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