BONTOC, Mountain Province – Villagers in this capital town and Tinglayan, Kalinga united to demand for immediate justice for the murder of a 13-year old native of Bontoc by a 21-year old labourer from Basao, Tinglayan, Kalinga in order to avert the possible escalation of tribal conflict between the two tribes.
It can be recalled that in the early evening of April 10, Bryden John Crisostomo of Bontoc Ili who belongs to Batch 2015 elementary graduates of the Bontoc Central School was stabbed to death by a suspect who was later identified as Saldy Alinung Dalug. According to the police report, the victim was stabbed by the suspect he met in an unlit portion of the stairs of a boarding house at Foyayeng, Bontoc Ili.
This killing caused the Bontoc community to barricade and conduct a check point along the Bontoc – Kalinga Road in Sitio Cheka-a, Barangay Caluttit of this municipality. All vehicles were flagged down and passengers from Tinglayan, Kalinga were not allowed to enter the capital town and were advised to go back and that they will not be allowed to go to the capital town until such time that they will cooperate in surrendering the suspect in the town’s celebrated murder case. This move was initiated by the barangay officials and residents of Bontoc Ili and was supported by the other 15 barangays in Bontoc. Residents of Bontoc volunteered to barricade and do checkpoint duty on a shifting schedule to send a clear message to Tinglayan residents to cooperate with the law enforcers for the immediate surrender of the suspect in order to give justice to the untimely demise of the young student.
With the rising tension, tribal elders from both communities saw the need for the conduct of continuous dialogue among them in order to prevent the occurrence of conflicts that will lead to violence and tribal war which could affect the peace and order situation in both areas.
The Kalinga delegation to the dialogue was led by vice Governor Allen Jesse Mangaoang and Tinglayan Mayor Johnny Maymaya, who were accompanied by representatives from the religious sector and community elders. On the other side of the dialogue table were the people of Bontoc, led by Bontoc Mayor Frankilin C. Odsey and barangay officials of Bontoc. The dialogue was held at the multi-purpose building recently. The negotiation was presided over by Provincial Administrator Johnny V. Lausan with the support of advisers Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Atty. Florence N. Taguiba, Atty. Abigail Gamonnac and Alexandre C. Claver. The dialogue was also witnessed and participated in by the Bontoc Municipal Police Station and the other members of the community. Vice Governor Mangaoang and Mayor Maymaya both extended the sympathy of the people of Kalinga to the family of the victim and to the Bontoc community. They also assured their full support that justice be served.
Senior Inspector Richard Soliven, the chief of police of Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS) said that a murder charge against the suspect was filed in court on May 4, 2015. It is expected that the warrant of arrest against the suspect will be issued by Provincial Prosecutor Golda Bagawi after ten working days.
Among the agreements of both parties is the creation of a Joint Task Force for the arrest of the suspect who is reportedly hiding in his hometown in Basao. The Joint Task Force will comprise the personnel from the Mountain Provincial Police Office, Bontoc MPS, Kalinga Provincial Police Office and Tinglayan MPS. The taskforce shall work and operate together for the arrest of the suspect while the Provincial Government of Mountain Province and Kalinga, and the Municipal Government of Bontoc and Tinglayan shall provide the resources needed.
Immediately after the dialogue the Bontoc community stopped the barricade and check point and allowed those from other barangays of Tinglayan to enter the capital town except those from Barangay Basao, Kalinga.
However, if the suspect will not surrender or be arrested five days after issuance of warrant of arrest, the Bontoc community is firm with their stand not to allow all those from Tinglayan, Kalinga to come to Bontoc; the Bontoc community will resume to barricade and conduct check point prohibiting those from Tinglayan, Kalinga to come to Bontoc until the suspect is arrested and made to account for his crime.
By Alpine L. Killa