By sheer luck, the police captured a high-value government target, the alleged head of a criminal gang operating in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province, after he figured in a crash while driving drunk.
A report reaching Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, Eastern Police District (EPD) director, said that Jerome “Botong” Garcia, who also went by the alias “Jericho Cruz,” was arrested by Antipolo policemen led by its chief, Supt. Amisolo Rosero, on Sept. 6.
This was after his motorcycle hit a concrete barrier on Sumulong Highway because he was drunk. When he crashed, he was wearing a police shirt.
Rescue workers from the Antipolo City Emergency Medical team alerted the police who found among his possessions several sachets of suspected shabu and a .45-cal. pistol.
As a result, Garcia was charged with the illegal use of a police uniform and violation of Republic Act 4136 for driving without a license and a certificate of registration for the motorcycle.
However, the Pasig police led by Supt. Hendrix Mangaldan, chief of the follow-up unit, found out that Garcia was the leader of the Jerome Garcia crime group which was behind illegal activities in Pasig City, eastern Manila and some parts of Rizal province.
Pasig City police chief Senior Supt Orlando Yebra Jr. said in his report that they had been tailing Garcia for more than two months.
Based on police records, Garcia was the ninth most wanted man in the National Capital Region, fifth most wanted in the EPD and the most wanted man in the Pasig City area. Upon discovering his true identity, the Pasig police served the suspect with four arrest warrants.
One of these was in connection with a robbery case with a recommended bail of P100,000 in the sala of Judge Cadiz-Casaclang of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 144. Other cases were violation of the election gun ban or B.P. 881 pending in the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 161; a murder case pending in the Pasig RTC Branch 167 and violation of the comprehensive firearms law or Presidential Decree 1866 as amended by R.A. 19591 pending in the Pasig RTC Branch 155. -Jodee A. Agoncillo
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