City cops capture ‘Most wanted’ man

A MAN tagged by the local police as the most wanted person in Cebu City was arrested recently, but he questioned his being ranked as the number one criminal.

Wilfredo Labitad Sabella, a native of Barangay Buhisan in Cebu City, was arrested in Campo 3, Barangay Jaclupan, Talisay City at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

His arrest was based on a warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Galicano Arriesgado in relation to the killing of his neighbor who had stolen his fighting cocks in Buhisan in 2001.

But police said Sabella was a hitman or a gun-for-hire linked to the ambush of San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya. That incident resulted in the killing of her husband, Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya Jr.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Engelbert Soriano said, “Maraming attempts na arestohin ang taong ito pero dahil sa very strategic yung kanyang pinagtataguan at napaka hard to reach nung lugar, na maintain nya yung kanyang safety duon, but last Feb. 19, ginawan talaga natin ng paraan na makuha sya, at finally na aresto nga namin.” (There were several attempts to arrest this person but his location is very strategic and difficult to reach, which is why he was able to stay safe for a while, but last Feb. 19 we were finally able to arrest him.)

For his part, Sabella said he was surprised why he was tagged as the most wanted person in Cebu when he confessed to killing only one person.

“Usa ra gani akung napatay, number 1 na hinuon? Unsaon nga kawatan man gyud? Nahinaykan nuon nako (referring to the killing that was the basis of the arrest warrant),” Sabella said. (I killed one person and I am number one already? What can I do? He was a thief. I couldn’t help it.)

But Soriano said Sabella is part of the network of Jerome Labitad, a gun-for-hire group operating in Talisay City and Cebu province.

Labitad’s group has expanded with its connections to the illegal drug syndicate headed by Franz Sabalones.

Soriano said that, from the information they gathered that they are now trying to validate, Sabella is allegedly involved in the ambush of San Fernando Mayor Reluya last year.

“Tinitingnan namin yan, yung coordination namin sa CPPO (Cebu Police Provincial Office ) baka ma settle namin yan,” Soriano said. (We are looking into that and we are coordinating with the CPPO and we might settle that case.)

Sabella admitted his affiliation with Labitad’s group but, he said, it lasted only a month because he couldn’t agree with Labitad.

He also denied being the hitman of Sabalones, saying he did not even know Sabalones. (MVG)

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