Police during a followup operation on Wednesday arrested a 38-year-old habal-habal driver for allegedly harboring slain multiple murder suspect Emigdio Aparece, Jr.
Suspect Bernido Betago was arrested at his residence in Barangay Poblacion at 6:00 a.m. while another suspected Aparece associate, Jerson Socorin of Buenavista, escaped.
Betago on Thursday morning underwent inquest proceedings and was charged with harboring a criminal before the provincial prosecutor’s office.
According to SPO3 Ramil Gumapac, officer-in-charge of the Danao Police Station, Betago owned the small hut used by Aparece as hideout in Sitio Sta. Ana, Barangay Concepcion, Danao.
Aparece, 22, was killed inside the said hut after allegedly resisting police arrest at past 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
Betago, a habal-habal driver, was also the one who drove Aparece to Sitio Sta. Ana on the night before Aparece was killed, said Gumapac.
However, Gumapac noted that Betago was unarmed and was not involved in Aparece’s murder cases.
In an interview with media, Betago also denied being an associate of Aparece noting that he had only recently met the suspected gunman. He said that he drove Aparece only twice and that the latter paid for his services as a habal-habal driver.
According to Betago, he was in Manila for a long time and only arrived in Bohol on May 16. He admitted taking Aparece to a market in Sagbayan to buy food but noted that he did not know the murder suspect then.
“Wa pa ko kaila og kinsa to siya diay. Wa [ko kaila] kay wa baya ko diri, dugay man ko sa Manila,” said Betago, noting that he had heard about Aparece but did not know what he looked like.
Betago also said that Aparece may have started to occupy his hut when he was still in Manila.
“Duda nako daan na siyang naa diha sa wa pa ko diri. Way taw [didto], gamiton ra na og magtanom, sa basak,” he added.
Aparece was tagged as suspect in at least 15 killings including the murder of Buenavista Mayor Ronald “Sampol” Tirol, SPO1 Alejandro Estorgio, two barangay officials in the village of Putingbato, a militiaman, a daycare teacher and a seaman, among others.
Superintendent Gaylord Tamayo, who led the arresting team which gunned down Aparece, said that the slain multiple murder suspect was believed to have carried out his first kill at the age of 14. (A. Doydora)