La Union Rep. Sandra Eriguel on Tuesday, July 27 said President Rodrigo Duterte’s prompt response to her appeal arrest and dismantle the alleged hit squad operating in La Union has resulted in Monday’s surrender of a police colonel tagged as the head of the group.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has disclosed that Wilson Magpali, a former police colonel, has turned himself in to police authorities after being tagged as the mastermind of the Magpali Gang.
The surrender came a few days after President Duterte, acting on Eriguel’s appeal, directed the PNP Ilocos Region, through the Department of Interior and Local Government, to “get the head” of the alleged gun-for-hire group that had been suspected of being behind the killing and planned assassination of politicians in La Union, including Eriguel.
Eriguel aired the appeal to Duterte after receiving reliable police information that she and two incumbent mayors in La Union have been included in the assassination list of the Magpali Gang. She lauded the president for his swift action on her request.
She said catching the leader of the Magpali group “would lead authorities into the bottom of stemming the political killings in La Union way back in 2018”.
Following President Duterte’s order, the DILG instructed the PNP to go after the Magpali gun-for-hire group.
In a radio interview, DILG Undersecretary Ricojudge Janvier M. Echiverri confirmed that the president issued the order to get the mastermind of the Magpali group which is allegedly composed of rogue policemen and soldiers.
Echiverri said the instruction was to go after the group in all areas where its members may have gone hiding.
Eriguel, the reported primary target of the Magpali gang, is the widow of former Rep. Franny Eriguel who was slain in 2018. At least two more political leaders in La Union were also killed.
The PNP recently uncovered the plot to assassinate Eriquel, together with two other town mayors allied with her.
This, after La Union police operatives arrested several alleged members of the Magpali Gang, reportedly a group of contract killers hired by local politicians to eliminate their rivals in next year’s elections.
The intelligence information apparently taken from those in police custody disclosed that a P2 million down payment was received by the gang to carry out the killing of Eriguel and others who are in the so-called hit list.
The arrested suspects were tagged as the killers of a farm caretaker in Barangay Baiologo, Bacnotan, La Union on June 22, 2021. The killing of the victim is believed to be a side contract as the gang was preparing for high-profile targets.