Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas clarified that the man taken into police custody Tuesday morning for suspicion on being one of the Abu Sayyaf stragglers is a vagrant who wanders a neighboring town.
The detained man who initially only told police that he is â€œAlbertâ€ was later on fully identified by Catigbian authorities as Albert Laguna, a resident of one of the townâ€™s villages, said Piezas.
Laguna who is believed to be suffering from a mental illness had already been released to authorities in Catigbian, added Piezas.
At around 8.a.m. on Tuesday, Laguna was spotted by residents in Barangay Bacani, one of the clash sites in the town where Abu Sayyaf leader Joselito Melloria was killed by army troops on Saturday.
Laguna who looked unfamiliar to the villagers aroused suspicion prompting residents to report his presence to police as they suspected that he was one of the remaining Abu Sayyaf bandits.
He was then immediately taken into police custody by responding policemen of the Clarin Police Station.
Some of the villagers admitted that the case of mistaken identity was caused by Lagunaâ€™s resemblance to one Abu Sayyaf straggler identified only as â€œRichardâ€ as seen on distributed photos of the bandits.
However, intelligence report released by the military today indicated that Richard has already been killed in one of the encounters between government security forces and the band of ASG men in the province.
Following the incident, Piezas acknowledged Clarin residentsâ€™ vigilance citing their immediate effort to relay information on a suspicious individual to authorities.
The mayor also asked villagers to remain alert as three more Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly remain in hiding.
For their part, several residents in Barangay Bacani who are still reeling from Saturdayâ€™s clash between government troops and at least four militants praised the municipal policeâ€™s quick response. (Allen Doydora)