Probe continues vs gun-for-hire gang leader arrested in Pangasinan

Probe continues vs gun-for-hire gang leader arrested in Pangasinan

SAN NICOLAS, Pangasinan — The police are still investigating the suspected leader of a gun-for-hire group from Nueva Ecija who was arrested last April 16 while he and his companion were on board a motorcycle that was reportedly shadowing Mayor Rebecca Saldivar while on a house-to-house campaign in Barangay Bensican, San Nicolas.

The suspect, Leonilo Sarmiento, 43, identified as leader of the dreaded Alakdan gun-for-hire group in Nueva Ecija, was on board a Yamaha R-6 Big Bike motorcycle along with his backrider Teodoro Vicente, 49, of Cabanatuan City, when they were flagged down by Saldivar’s supporters.

A coordination made by the Provincial Intelligence branch of the Pangasinan Provincial Office with the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office showed that Sarmiento has a case for murder filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tarlac and was confirmed to be a gun-for-fire.

Once the San Nicolas Police received the warrant of arrest from the RTC in Tarlac, they placed Sarmiento under arrest but released his companion for lack of evidence against him.

A report said Sarmiento and his companion initially told the police that that they are supporting a mayoralty candidate in Pangasinan who they did not name.

The police said they are now digging deeper as to the other criminal activities of Sarmiento and his group in Pangasinan, including the names of their victims but will soon turn over the suspect to the Tarlac RTC which issued his warrant of arrest.

Supt. Jackie Candelario, police deputy regional director for operations in Pangasinan, hailed the arrest of Sarmiento as he urged the police all over the province to maintain their vigilance to thwart any more attempt by lawless elements to enter tne province in a move to sow violence on or before the elections.

Candelario said that to date, no violence was recorded yet in any part of the province despite the fact that Pangasinan was placed as one of the areas of concern by the Philippine National Police.

Sarmiento was the first gun-for-hire arrested in Pangasinan since the election period began.

Candelario said the police continue to conduct checkpoints 24/7 to prevent the movements of lawless elements with their firearms. PNA/