A MAN tagged by police as a leader of a "notorious" criminal group and who authorities believed to have ties with the New People's Army (NPA) was killed in a police operation in San Vicente, Baungon, Bukidnon, on June 17.
Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao Director Rafael Santiago Jr. confirmed the death of Dencio Lundahan, the leader of Lundahan criminal group operating in northern part of Bukidnon, particularly in Baungon and other nearby areas.
Members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion encountered undetermined number of armed men while conducting law enforcement operation in the area.
The exchange of fire lasted for about five minutes. No casualty was reported on the government side.
Lundahan was said to be number six most wanted person in the region, said police.
Authorities said the slain suspect was believed to have links with the NPA, which has been engaging in extortion, robbery, gun-for-hire, and other criminal activities.
"He has several warrants of arrest for serious crimes like multiple murder and the likes. He has been the subject of police manhunt operation because of his high-profile criminal background," Santiago said.
"Lately, he has been monitored to be engaged in extortion victimizing plantation operators in Bukidnon. With his passing, Bukidnon will be safer," he added.
The region's top cop said Lundahan is included in the PNP PSR, a report containing a list of most wanted personalities and their criminal activities subject to immediate police operation.
Santiago also said Lundahan leads a criminal group notorious for armed robbery, murder, gun for hire and other crimes whose criminal records fill court dockets since early 2000.
"A bounty for his arrest has doubled in recent years for the more than a dozen crimes he has committed ranging from multiple murder to robbery. We have eliminated one notorious criminal with the death of Dencio Lundahan," Santiago said.
"His group has even been monitored to be collaborating with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA) terrorists and have recently engaged in extortion," he added.
Santiago said appropriate awards will be given to the police personnel for the highly commendable accomplishment.