Police nab chairman operating PAG in Batangas

Published May 29, 2018, 7:59 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Martin Sadongdong

An elected barangay chairman who allegedly operates a private armed group (PAG) was arrested by the police in an operation in Santo Tomas, Batangas early Tuesday morning.

Jay Monterola, 41, incumbent barangay chairman and resident of Barangay Santa Clara, Santo Tomas, Batangas, was apprehended by joint operatives of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Police’s Regional Special Operations Unit-Regional Intelligence Division (RSOU-RID) and the Santo Tomas City Police.

Also arrested during the operation were Crisaldo Castillo, 49, of Sariaya, Quezon, and Samuel Gordura, 47, of Orangan, Eastern, Samar, who are believed to be members of Monterola’s private armed group in Santo Tomas, Batangas.

Monterola and his two men were nabbed when police served a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 or Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition in his house around 5 a.m.

According to Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, regional director of Calabarzon Police Regional Office (PRO-4A), Monterola and his men yielded high-powered but unregistered firearms and ammunition including a carbine rifle and two magazines with 56 live bullets, two caliber 45 pistols and six magazines with 43 pieces of live bullets.

Eleazar also said that Monterola was appointed as the chairman of Barangay Santa Clara after the death of its chairwoman, Leonor Angeles, on October 25 2016.

“Prior to the death of Barangay chairwoman Angeles, there was a dispute regarding the quarry,” Eleazar said, citing information from the Santo Tomas City Police station.

Monterola, who was then serving as a two-term councilor, had been appointed as officer-in-charge (OIC) chairman when Angeles filed a leave of absence.

“During [Monterola’s] stint as OIC, the Sangguniang Barangay passed a resolution approving the quarry. However, when chairwoman Angeles re-assumed her post, she questioned such resolution,” Eleazar added.

Eleazar then stated that Angeles was shot dead by two unidentified men who pretended as supporters right inside the barangay hall days after she re-assumed her post.

Further, Eleazar said that Monterola was among the respondents in the murder case of one alias Carding who was killed in front of the barangay hall was back in 2014.

The said victim was the father-in-law of a certain Eric Jaurigue, whom Monterola defeated in the recently concluded barangay elections earlier this month.

Eleazar said Monterola, Castillo and Gordura were brought to Santo Tomas police detention facility while the firearms and ammunition recovered from them were subjected for a ballistiics examination at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory at Camp Crame to determine whether or not they were used in any crime.

Eleazar has yet to determine whether an investigation will also be conducted as to the link of the alleged private armed group of Monterola to the deaths of Angeles and alias Carding.