Commando leader nabbed in Tarlac

Sonny Anicete arrives in Puerto Princesa and is now awaiting trial (file Photo)

One of the principal suspects in the murder of two Japanese nationals in Culion, Palawan in May this year was nabbed by police operatives Saturday, December 30, in the town of Pura, Tarlac.

Arrested was Sonny Anicete, alias Tatan, a leader of the Palawan-based “Commando” organization. Anicete, who is subject of an arrest warrant, had gone in hiding following his indictment in the May 30, 2017 murder of Japanese nationals, Itani Masaru, 59, and Arai Yoshihiru, 24.

Anicete’s arrest was confirmed by Atty. Tedoro Jose Matta of the provincial legal office, who said the fugitive was tracked down and nabbed by operatives of the PRO 3 Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Tarlac police in Barangay Poblacion 1, Pura town.

Matta said the manhunt for Anicete was supported by Palawan provincial government under its peace and order initiative.

He added that Anicete, who was detained in a Tarlac facility, will be brought to Puerto Princesa City for presentation to the court that issued his arrest warrant, Judge Arnel Cesar of RTC Branch 49 .

“We’re trying to see if he can be sent back to Puerto Princesa within the holidays. If not, maybe first week of January next year, to be surrendered to the RTC,” said Matta.

He disclosed further that there is a possibility to recommend for Aniciete’s incarceration at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), where he could not escape.

“I am inclined to recommend that he be detained in Iwahig. He is very influential underground and can run away again if detained anywhere else. This goes to show too, that if you commit a crime in Palawan, it does not mean that you would go unpunished. Finally, the wheels of justice can now turn on this murder case,” he stressed.

Those who have already been charged in the murder case were Hiroyuki Nagahama, 55, the alleged mastermind, Reynante Labampa, Jovis Viscarra, alias Jun, and an alias Bando.

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