BONTOC, Mountain Province – The local community and th family of 13-year old John Bryden Faniswa Crisostomo who was stabbed to death by a certain Saldy Dalug, who hails from Basao, Tinglayan, Kalinga believed that justice has been served following the surrender of the lone suspect to the police several weeks ago.
Dalug was accompanied by his family and relatives, and Kalinga elders together with the members of the Movement for the Advancement of Inter Tribal Unity and Development (MAITUD) and Episcopal priests when he voluntarily surrendered to the Tinglayan police after repeated calls of his giving up in order to shed light on the crime being accused him.
The suspect who is a minor and not 21 –year old as earlier reported is facing homicide charges and now detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Mountain Province.
The suspect’s surrender was the result of series of dialogues between the Bontoc and Tinglayan Local Government Units (LGUs) with the participation of the barangay officials of both town and support of the various women and senior citizen groups, along with the assistance of the MAITUD and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) and the police who ensure peace and order during the conduct of dialogues and meetings.
Bontoc Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Chair Alexander Fana-ang, who is also the Punong Barangay of Bontoc Ili in a personal interview said that it has always been the plea of the family and town mates of Crisostomo for the suspect to surrender and make account of the crime he committed.
Fana-ang added that the concerted effort of everyone for the surrender of the suspect paid off.
He recalled the check-point initiated by the barangay officials of Bontoc Ili and supported by the three central barangays – Poblacion, Samoki and Caluttit, and the other barangays of the capital town. Upon learning that the suspected assailant was from Tinglayan, Kalinga, the Bontoc community started to conduct check point and barricade along the Bontoc- Tinglayan, Kalinga Road on May 3.
All vehicles were plugged down and passengers from Tinglayan, Kalinga were not allowed to enter the capital town and were advised to go back. Residents of Bontoc volunteered to barricade and conduct checkpoint in a shifting schedule. The barricade and check point was stopped on May 6 after the dialogue with the representatives of Tinglayan, with the latter’s assurance that they will help in the arrest or not surrender of the suspect.
Barangay officials and elders of Bontoc Ili reiterated in an interview that they politely turned back motorist and explained the situation to them.
With the rising tension after the incident, Bontoc Ili officials and elders believed that preventing those from Tinglayan to enter the capital town is the safest to avoid any untoward incident that may happen. They stressed that it was never their intention to inflict violence nor commit revenge against the suspect, his family and his town mate.
To them, the conduct of checkpoint was to call the attention of the Tinglayan people to surrender the suspect. An action that move the Tinglayan officials to come to Bontoc for series of dialogues and meetings that resulted to the formation of a joint task force for the arrest or surrender of the suspect.
If the joint task force fails, the Bontoc community is firm with their stand to resume the barricade and conduct of check point. With the situation that Tinglayan students, patients, traders and travellers are the ones greatly affected, the EDNP and MAITUD volunteered to talk to the family of the suspect and the Basao tribe.
With the suspect now in jail, Bontoc folk allows the entry of Tinglayan students, traders and even hospital patients except those from Basao.
However, Tinglayan traders who will sell their goods and product are not allowed to roam around the barangays of Bontoc and their movement is limited to the public market only. Also, owners of boarding houses in Bontoc may accept Tinglayan students with a condition that they will be held answerable should problem arises.
The young Crisostomo who just graduated from Grade 6 was stabbed by the suspect he met in an unlit portion of the stairs of a boarding house at Foyayeng, Bontoc Ili in the evening of April 10, 2015.
By Alpine L. Killa