Misamis priest denies church musician hostaged him

Aug. 24, 2017

Police officers arrest a musician of a parish church in Naawan, Misamis Oriental who allegedly held hostage Father Roniedon Valmoria. But Valmoria denied that Lovernton Ruedas hostaged him. (Divina M. Suson/davaotoday.com)

NAAWAN, MISAMIS ORIENTAL –A church musician of a local parish here was arrested by police authorities after allegedly taking hostage the parish priest around 10 a.m on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Police Senior Inspector Jay Francis Estigoy said the suspect identified as Lovernton Ruedas was found carrying a firearm at the back of the municipal hall.

“One of our personnel called me up and said he wanted to talk to me. When I arrived at the back of the municipal hall area, I saw him boarding a motorcycle, and we saw his firearm,” Estigoy, chief of Naawan Municipal Police Station, said in a media interview.

Ruedas apparently came to the police station to talk to Estigoy who was on duty.

Estigoy said he asked whether Ruedas is a member of the Armed Forces of Philippines or the Philippine National Police. He also asked the latter to lower his firearm.

But Estigoy claimed the suspect refused and pointed his gun at a police officer.

Several shots were fired which forced Ruedas to run towards the Catholic church and hid there with the priest.

But Father Roniedon Valmoria denied being taken hostage by Ruedas.

“Ang nahitabo nagpatabang si Lablab (Ruedas’ nickname) didto siya midagan sa kumbento kay nahadlok na siya sa mga pulis kay gikan siya sa headquarters (police station). Walay force nga iyang gi-apply ngari kanako, ako pa gani ang namugos niya nga mag-ampo, mag-rosaryo aron lamdagan sa Ginoo, dayun mi-surender,” Valmoria said.

(Translation: Lablab (Ruedas’ nickname) ran to the convent because he was scared of the police. He came from the police headquarters. He did not force me, and I even asked him to pray the rosary before he surrendered)

Valmoria said he even asked the caliber .45 that Ruedas was holding and kept it in a box.

Estigoy ang Valmoria did not say clearly about Ruedas’ problem and what he is up to in looking for the police chief.

However, the latter’s friends and neighbors said he is a police asset and requested the police not to include his friends who were arrested in a buy-bust operation days ago because, according to him, they are innocent.

The negotiation, according to the police, lasted for more than an hour before Ruedas surrendered to a police officer from Iligan City Police Office whom he personally requested to fetch him from the convent.

On Thursday, Ruedas was charged with Serious Illegal Detention, Republic Act 10591 or Illegal Possession of Firearms, Public Alarm and Scandal and Resistance and Serious Disobedience to Person, Agent in Authority.(davaotoday.com)

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