Suspect in burning of 7 vehicles in General Santos arrested

COTABATO CITY (John Unson, Nov.11, 2023) — The police is now in custody of one of at least six suspects in the burning of seven high-end vehicles parked in different spots in General Santos City late Thursday.

General Santos City police officials told reporters on Saturday that the 30-year-old Caydence Clark Gulmatico, now detained, had promised to help locate his accomplices, subject of an extensive manhunt now.

Col. Nicomedes Olaivar, General Santos City police director, said he is grateful to vigilant tipsters who helped identify and locate Gulmatico about six hours after he and companions on motorcycles set on fire seven sports utility vehicles parked along stretches of thoroughfares straddling through Barangays Bula and Dadiangas South.

“Efforts to find his companions are still underway,” Olaivar said.

In an informal briefing on Saturday morning, Gulmatico told police officers, in the presence of reporters, that he and his cohorts pulled off the arson attacks purely for fun and adventurism.

Sources from units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the military-led anti-terror Task Force GenSan are helping validate assertions by General Santos City residents, among them community leaders and members of the local business community, that the arson attacks were possibly instigated by violent religious extremists that have links with either the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or its allies, the Al-Khobar and Dawlah Islamiya.

The three groups have a reputation for bombing buses and business establishments if owners refuse to shell out protection money on a monthly basis.

Officials of the Police Regional Office-12, under Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, said Saturday PRO-12 will soon release an official statement on the incident. (JF UNSON IN COTABATO CITY)

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