NorMin 'most wanted' shot dead

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Monday, June 16, 2014

A SUSPECT with various criminal offenses, and one of the most wanted persons in Northern Mindanao, was shot dead in Barangay Lapasan following a manhunt operation Sunday morning, police said.

Junie Bataluna, 35, a resident of Barangay Mat-i, Claveria, Misamis Oriental, bore four gunshot wounds after shooting it out with law enforcers.

Around 11:30 a.m., Agora police station led by Inspector Arthur Gaston, deputy for operation, and Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOJP) led by jail warden Dominador Tagarda searched Hillside, a neighborhood in Lapasan after they were tipped off by nearby residents that a suspected criminal was in the area.


"Gi-report gyud sa akong magulang ganina buntag sayo. Gabii pa na siya naabot (My older sibling reported this early this morning. He arrived last night)," Angelo Lawas, Bataluna's distant cousin who witnessed the incident, told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro Sunday.

Bataluna had gunshot wounds on his left shoulder, right thigh, left rib, and left leg.

According to one of the witnesses, Bataluna was asked to surrender to authorities. However, he opened fire at the police.

"Dili man unta siya ma-ingon ana. Siya man una nagpabuto gud," Lawas told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro.

Recovered from the crime scene were a .38 caliber pistol, a few coins and notes, and a cellphone.

Police had been chasing after the suspect for multiple violations.

Bataluna was considered by authorities as one of the 'most wanted fugitive' in the region.

According to Tagarda, Bataluna had charges related to murder, drugs, rape and theft.

"When he escaped [from the provincial jail of Misamis Oriental] in 2011, we coordinated with CIDG and they caught Bataluna in Cebu the same year. After 24 hours, he managed to escape from CIDG-Cebu's detention cell and went back to Mat-i," Tagarda said.

"Sa wala pa ni mahitabo naay gaingon nga naa daw siyay gisipa, gikulata pud niya kay gidudahan daw siya [Bataluna] na nangawat og cellphone," Gaston said.

A woman who arrived in the crime scene confirmed that the suspect allegedly raped a relative in November 2013.

Around 1:40 p.m., Bataluna’s elder sister came to the city from Claveria.

After the Scene of the Crime Operative-10's (Soco-10) conducted its initial investigation, Bataluna’s will bring the body to their hometown in Claveria.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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