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HomeFront PageBreaking NewsHold departure order sought for alleged mastermind in Agusan mining exec’s slay

Hold departure order sought for alleged mastermind in Agusan mining exec’s slay

by Chris V. Panganiban

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur (Mindanews/April 23)—-The family of retired Col. Samuel Afdal, a gold mining executive who was slain in Agusan del Sur in 2021, had sought to prevent the killing’s alleged mastermind from traveling outside the country.

Lawyer Rommel Fontanilla, counsel for Afdal’s widow Evelyn, told journalists in Davao City on Friday that the request for issuance of a hold departure order (HDO) against Ryan Mark Baylon had been filed before Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 85 where the case for murder is now heard upon order of the Supreme Court.

Fontanilla said the HDO should help ensure that Baylon, who remains at large, will not flee the country but rather face justice and answer the allegations that he conspired with three former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to ambush Afdal on Oct. 26, 2021 as he was driving uphill toward the base camp of Rosario Manobo Mining Corp. (RMMC) in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Rosario town, Agusan del Sur.

Although he survived the attack, Afdal, who owned RMMC, lapsed into a coma and died on Nov. 15, 2021.

This reporter texted the last known numbers of Baylon and his construction company, JB Earthmovers Inc., for comment but there has been no reply as of Monday morning.

Since he was formally charged in October last year, Baylon has not honored invitations to appear in clarificatory hearings set by the Agusan del Sur provincial prosecutor’s office, the RTC Branch 6 in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, and the Quezon City RTC.

But he was seen as among the riding buddies of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa during the Mindanao leg of the BOSS Ironman Motorcycle Challenge last January.

Baylon, who grew up in Pigcawayan town, Cotabato province, was last known to be a resident of Sitio Masapya, Barangay Consuelo in Bunawan town, Agusan del Sur. Various sources said he also maintains a house in Davao City.

Appeal

On April 5, Quezon City RTC Presiding Judge Juris Dilinila-Callanta issued arrest warrants against Baylon and former NPA guerrilla Rosalino Degracia alias Okie, for the murder of Afdal.

“With the arrest warrant(s) out, we deeply hope and pray that our law enforcement agencies act with dispatch to bring the suspects before the court of law, and face justice. We also hope and pray that the flow of justice will go on unimpeded,” said a statement issued by the Afdal family on Friday.

Lawyer Xilex Barroga said they learned on Thursday that Degracia, a resident of Rosario, Agusan del Sur, had surrendered to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Davao City.

A third suspect, Alemar Awado alias Dongkoy, also a former NPA guerrilla, had given himself up, also to the CIDG, even before a warrant for his arrest was issued by Callanta. Awado is now detained in a jail in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, for another murder charge.

A fourth person, former NPA rebel Jeffrey Mamerto, had confessed to have pulled the trigger against Afdal for P50,000, and got a 10-year prison term for the lesser offense of homicide in a plea bargaining deal. 

He has been jailed in Prosperidad and had implicated Awado and Degracia in the kill plot allegedly hatched by Baylon with a  P200,000 price tag.

Manhunt

“One of those up for arrest is a business associate of Saga. The thought that he has the gall to betray Saga, and us, is horribly disheartening and reprehensible,” the statement further said, referring to the name Afdal is known to close friends and associates.

Afdal owned a majority stake in JB Earthmovers, which is based in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, with Baylon as president. 

Prior to his ambush, Afdal had the company audited to determine the cause of its persistent losses, his widow Evelyn said.

Maj. Ralph Perez, Bunawan municipal police chief, said they have served the arrest warrant against Baylon in the address indicated but he was not there. But he assured they are doing everything to have him collared.

Perez admitted that the Bunawan police are facing challenges in arresting Baylon.

“Hindi kasi simpleng tao lang ang suspect. May kakayahan din siya, pero lumiliit na ang mundo niya. Yung warrant niya all over the Philippines naman, kaya anywhere in the country na makita siya ay huhulihin na talaga siya,” Perez said.

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