THE suspects in the death of lawyer Noel Archival and two others are not in Central Visayas.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Director Benjamin Magalong received reports that the three former Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 men are hiding far from Cebu.

Magalong, who recently visited Cebu, also said that CIDG is intensifying the manhunt against former HPG 7 Director Romualdo Iglesia, former HPG 7 Special Operations Team Chief Joselito Lerio and PO1 Alex Bacani.

But Magalong would not reveal specifics of their whereabouts so as not to compromise the manhunt.

After they were impleaded in the death of Archival, brother of Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, the former policemen were transferred to the national headquarters in Camp Crame.

There, Iglesia, Lerio and Bacani disappeared, which prompted the Philippine National Police to drop them from the rolls for being absent without official leave.

Magalong said they are also negotiating with the fugitives' relatives and friends, in case the three would contact them.

"We don't care (if they were our colleagues). As long as there is a warrant of arrest, we will definitely arrest them," Magalong assured reporters.

Supt. Fermin Armendarez III of CIDG 7 said an alias warrant against the three former cops had been issued by the court two months ago.

But CIDG hopes that their operation will not end in a "violent arrest."

"We will try to convince them to bring themselves in. We hope that they will surrender," Magalong said.

The fugitives are facing multiple murder cases for the deaths of Archival, his aide Candido Minoza and driver Alejandro Jayme in Barangay Coro, Dalaguete, Cebu on Feb. 18, 2014.

They are also facing frustrated murder case for injuries sustained by Paolo Cortes, Archival's bodyguard.