By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

REWARD. The wanted poster of Ansawi Limbona alias ‘Jojo’, the alleged mastermind in the killing of 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Zahraman Diocolano during a ‘rido’ settlement in Cotabato City on Jan. 2, 2024. The PNP on Tuesday (June 4) said it hopes that the PHP500,000 bounty on the suspect would help solve the case. (Photo courtesy of Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Lester Sinsuat)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday is hopeful that the reward for any information on the killing of a police officer assigned as a security escort of a Maguindanao del Norte mayor would help bring the crime’s perpetrators to justice.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said a manhunt is underway against the suspects in the murder of 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Zahraman Diocolano of the Maguindanao Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC), who was detailed as the security escort of Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Lester Sinsuat.

“We will make sure that your identity will remain confidential and this reward would really help us solve this crime. It’s not all about the money but more than that, it’s about the public’s concern and their humane act of helping us give justice to the victims,” Fajardo said in Filipino.

The victim’s family put a PHP500,000 bounty for the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the crime, Ansawi Limbona alias ‘Jojo’, who has a standing arrest warrant issued by a local court on May 6.

Aside from Limbona, two other unidentified suspects are still at large.

The incident happened on Jan. 2 during a family gathering at the house of former Rep. Ronnie Sinsuat in Cotabato City to settle a “rido” (family feud) involving the mayor and the family of his late uncle, Datu Jamael Sinsuat.

However, a group of armed men arrived and shot Diocolano, who was outside the compound.

Police and members of Philippine Marines initially arrested four assailants — Army Private 1st Class John Carlo Nocum, 31, a member of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, and three others.

In a phone interview, Sinsuat said he is in a safe condition but is not letting his guard down.

“Kuntento tayo sa paghahanap ng PNP. Gayunpaman inuulit ko ang aking panawagan na paigtingin pa nila ang seguridad sa aming bayan at magtalaga ng mga karapat dapat na opisyal at personnel (We are contented with the PNP’s pursuit. However, I am reiterating my call for them to beef up security in our town and deploy deserving officials and personnel),” he added. (PNA)