THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which launched a manhunt for lawyer Elly Pamatong following a raid on his "camp," has declared the latter as armed and dangerous.
Pamatong is still nowhere to be found since the raid by operatives of the Martial Law Special Action Group (MLSAG) at Pamatong’s compound in Sitio Tabucnai, Barangay Tablon, last Thursday, August 31.
Pamatong has long declared himself the country’s President and commander-in-chief, as well as leader of the USA Freedom Fighters of the East, in apparent reference to the American colonial army in the Philippines during World War II.
Pamatong’s self-proclamation as the country’s president was posted on social media early this year.
Senior Police Officer 4 Noel Oclarit, chief investigator of the CIDG’s Cagayan de Oro unit, said Pamatong is considered armed and dangerous, as they suspected that some of the firearms law enforcers were supposed to confiscate from the lawyer’s group are with him and his men.
Oclarit said somebody must have tipped Pamatong off since he was no longer inside the compound when MLSAG arrived at his compound carrying with them a search warrant issued by a judge in Gingoog City.
Inside Pamatong’s compound in Tablon was his version of the presidential residence which he called as “Palacio Mailakandian de Oro” or the “world’s smallest, poorest presidential palace,” according to his members.
The compound in Tablon, called as “Camp General MacArthur,” is just one of Pamatong’s 30 camps located nationwide, said Oclarit.
Oclarit said it’s possible that Pamatong could be in one of those camps, although he added the lawyer could not yet be handcuffed as the court has yet to issue a warrant of arrest for him.
He, however, said Pamatong or any of his member could be arrested if they are seen carrying illegal items, especially firearms.
During the raid, the MLSAG recovered a caliber .45 pistol, two fragmentation grenades, military uniforms, combat boots, inverted Philippine flags, American flags, and other items, inside the compound.
Oclarit said Pamatong could be charged with violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 for alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; RA 9516, for alleged illegal possession of explosives; and RA 8491, for inverting the Philippine flag.
An upside down flag of the Philippine means a declaration of war against the country, Oclarit said.
He said it was possible that Pamatong and some of his men got wind of the operation, prompting them to escape from the compound hours before the raid.
Just recently, some of Pamatong’s members were arrested by law enforcers while on their way to Marawi and some parts of Mindanao wearing military uniforms.
Pamatong had figured in controversies when he declared war against China and for supposedly ordering his supporters to toss spikes along Edsa in Pasay City which destroyed tires of more than a hundred vehicles after the Commission on Elections junked his presidential bid in 2004.
Pamatong ran for the presidency twice and lost.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 04, 2017.