The flag of the Moro National Liberation Front (Photo from the Facebook account of the MNLF )
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) officials on Sunday said they would not tolerate any wrongdoing committed by its members after one of them was tagged as the suspect in the shooting of a carpenter in Barangay Puerto on Friday, Feb. 15.
Police identified the suspect as Devie Moralde, 41, married, a resident of Fatima Subdivision in the said barangay.
The victim was identified as Ruben Bacalso, 45.
The suspect’s identification card shows him as a member of the MNLF with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The green-colored card bears the signatures of Datu Didilusan Arroyo and Nur Misuari, who is the group’s founder.
SPO3 Vladimer Tumada said Bacalso was with a group of men drinking in front of Moralde’s house when the incident happened at about 3 a.m. on Feb. 15.
Tumada said Bacalso died instantly with two gunshot wounds in his neck.
A .38-caliber handgun was used in the shooting, Tumada said, although they were still searching for the weapon.
He said that, based on witnesses’ testimonies, it was Moralde who pulled the trigger.
Tumada said the Moralde apparently held a grudge because he was not satisfied with the repairs that Bacalso did on his house.
Following the shooting, Moralde went to Dologon, Maramag town in Bukidnon and hid in an MNLF camp reportedly under Arroyo’s command.
According to radio reporter and commentator Jao Gumapac, who helped facilitate Moralde’s surrender, the suspect told his wife he would only turn himself in if there would be an assurance that he would not be harmed.
Gumapac said he went to the MNLF camp with Moralde’s wife and children and was able to talk to the suspect and convince him to surrender to the authorities.
The mediaman said Moralde told him he shot Bacalso out of self-defense and was not even aware that the victim had died.
“He [Moralde] said he managed to take the gun from Bacalso and used it to shoot the victim,” Gumapac said in an interview.
Gumapac said Arroyo also advised Moralde to surrender.
The suspect was turned over to Chief Insp. Abdul Alu Sumandar, commander of the Puerto Police Station.
In a radio interview, Arroyo said the MNLF would not tolerate such an act done by its members and that Moralde would have to face whatever charges would be filed against him.
In an interview on Sunday, Feb. 17, PO3 Lemuel Tecson, the investigator on the case, said it was possible that Moralde would be charged with murder.
“The victim’s family said they are willing to file a case against Moralde,” Tecson said.
The suspect is currently detained at the Puerto Police Station.
For his part, MNLF Commodore Alfredo de Gracia said if it could be proven that one of their members had violated the law, the MNLF leadership would not hesitate to remove that member from the roster.
But in Moralde’s case, De Gracia said, the MNLF might side with him if the suspect could prove in court that he only defended himself.
“It is the instruction of [Misuari] to never allow any wrongdoings unless it’s self-defense,” the official said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.
“We will leave it to the police to conduct an investigation,” De Gracia said.
According to him,part of the group’s protocol is for the local MNLF command to send a team to conduct an independent probe into a crime involving one of its members. /atm
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.