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Soldier arrested for slay of village dad in Negros





BACOLOD CITY – A member of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) was arrested for the murder of a barangay councilor in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last week.

Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of 3rd Infantry Division (ID), confirmed on Tuesday that Cpl. Rico Fuertes was identified as one of the four suspects in the death of Kagawad Mario Agabon, 36, of Barangay Lopez Jaena.

Agabon was shot dead last Nov. 12.

Pancito said that the Sagay City Police Station informed the Philippine Army that Fuertes was arrested on Nov. 13 in Sagay City.

Pancito said Fuertes, who was assigned as an assistant patrol base commander in Barangay Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla town, filed an emergency leave on Nov. 10 to 13 to tend his sick and pregnant wife.

However, authorities learned that Fuertes was just in Sagay City, and did not go home in Iloilo.

Pancito said they have yet to talk with Fuertes since the police are preparing the filing of criminal charges.

Pancito clarified that Fuertes was able to get out of the camp because of personal reason.

“Hindi po siya inutusan o wala po itong kinalaman sa katungkulan niya bilang isang sundalo,” he said.

However, with his arrest, Pancito said Fuertes is now on absence without official leave (Awol) as he failed to return to work after his emergency leave.

Pancito said they do not tolerate the actions and misdemeanor of their soldiers.

Pancito said they will work with the police to resolve the matter. “We are here to help find the truth and give justice to the victim and his family,” he added.

He said the Army will also conduct a fair investigation and they will also file administrative charges if he’s proven guilty of the crime.

Fuertes is now detained at Sagay City Police Station, along with two other arrested suspects.