THE man who escaped while Jaguar fell in a shootout last Friday surrendered to agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Bohol at 4:30 p.m. last Tuesday.
He reportedly offered to help the authorities find crucial connections to the alleged drug syndicate of Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz.
Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro also fears for his life, the authorities said.
“Any information gathered from him as part of his surrender is subject to verification,” Atty. Rennan Augustus Oliva of the NBI-Bohol said.
Oliva flew with Alvaro to Manila last Tuesday night to pursue an angle that was urgent in the investigation by the NBI. He flew back to Cebu last night, with NBI escorts.
It was Alvaro that a team of policemen from Cebu were trying to arrest last Friday night in Las Piñas, when they got into a shootout instead. That shootout killed Diaz and his bodyguard. Alvaro escaped.
He surrendered to the NBI four days later.
Interviewed separately, Police Regional Office 7 Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr. said it would be good for the public if Alvaro does divulge the police officers and government officials who are allegedly connected to the illegal drug trade.
“If there is any revelation, then we welcome any revelation. On that matter, I just hope this will not be used for political ends,” Comendador said.
Alvaro’s wife, sister and mother were with him when he gave himself up to NBI-Bohol last Tuesday.
It was a coordinated effort by the NBI in Cebu, Bohol and Manila as well as the Anti-Illegal Drugs Division based in Manila.
Agents, together with Alvaro, flew back to Cebu and arrived at the NBI-Cebu office at 6:53 p.m. yesterday.
After Alvaro’s surrender, Oliva served a warrant of arrest against him issued by Judge Jerry Dicdican of Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court in Danao last April 21.
He had been found guilty of possession of dangerous drugs as well as illegal possession of firearms. Section 11 of Republic Act 9165 prohibits drug possession, while the firearms case resulted from a violation of RA 10591.
As to speculations that Alvaro surrendered to the NBI because he trusted the justice department’s agency more than he did the police, Oliva said they were just lucky that Alvaro chose the bureau.
“We’re just lucky that he surrendered to us and with this, we are hoping for a successful operation in the campaign against illegal drugs. He surrendered to us because he wants to help the government,” he said.
Alvaro expressed willingness to stay under the NBI’s custody while on trial, but the court will be the one to decide where he should be detained, Oliva said.
For now, while the agents are waiting for the commitment order from the court, Alvaro will be detained temporarily in the NBI-Cebu.
“We’ll secure him here,” Oliva said.
He said that the bureau was thankful they were given the opportunity to show their accomplishment against illegal drugs.
Alvaro, upon his lawyer’s advice, declined to answer questions from journalists.
The regional director of the Philippine National Police 7, Chief Supt. Comendador, said that he had sent a team to question Alvaro. Oliva said, however, that the police official has yet to contact the NBI.
“We will need our regional director’s approval for that because Alvaro is under our protection,” he said.
A separate interview, however, revealed that the police team from the Provincial Intelligence Branch was sent to the NBI national headquarters in Manila, for a joint inquiry.
Comendador said that Alvaro was in Metro Manila when a police team from Cebu conducted an operation against him last Friday night in Las Piñas.
Operatives from the Regional Intelligence Division and Regional Special Operations Group chanced upon Diaz and his bodyguard during that night, and both were killed in a shootout.
Comendador said he expects Alvaro to deny he was with Diaz before the shootout.
“Without disclosing any detail of that operation, Barok was there. He was one of our targets along with Jaguar,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Atty. Jose Justo Yap, NBI 7 director, said the agency will offer to detain Alvaro while waiting for the court to say where he should stay.
“Kasi ang responsibilidad namin is yung safety niya. What if may mangyari? (His safety is our responsibility but what if something happens?),” Yap said.
NBI 7 Agent Arnel Pura said that it will be up to lawyer Jonnah John Ungab, Alvaro’s counsel, if they will file a petition for him to be detained by the NBI.
He said that NBI’s director would also have to evaluate security arrangements.
Atty. Archie Albao, NBI Bohol’s executive officer, said that Alvaro’s illegal drug trade was based in Danao and Manila.
“After Jaguar was killed, he came over, passing Bohol and while passing Bohol he thought that it would be better to surrender to us rather than be killed,” Albao said.
He did not elaborate.
Not all the details of the NBI and PNP’s information matched.
Comendador said that Barok went to Bohol because Jaguar had connections in the province.
Alvaro’s areas of distribution allegedly included Danao City, Compostela, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod and Camotes. He also reportedly owns a beach resort in Catmon.
Comendador said that Barok is not of the same level as Jaguar.
Alvaro allegedly masterminded the murders of two police officers, one of whom was Senior Insp. Jonas Tahanlangit, who was shot and killed last April in San Francisco, Camotes.
Comendador brushed aside insinuations that the police are extra active in the campaign against illegal drug trade because he wants to avoid being transferred to another unit.
“I come from here and as a Cebuano, it is my responsibility to make this place safe,” he said. “I am not holding on to any position. If that is how others look at me, if they are going to relieve me, it’s fine with me.”
The police, he added, are only doing their jobs. He denied speculations that the police have gone after some drug personalities to keep them from identifying police officials connected to the drug trade.