Cannibal Gang Suspect Caught in Philippines

Suspected member of ‘cannibal gang’ yields, confirms reports on cannibalism

GENERAL SANTOS CITY - One of the suspects in the grisly murder of a villager in Glan, Sarangani whose flesh was eaten and his blood drank by a "cannibal gang," was taken into custody, police said.

Senior Supt. Efren Valeriano, Sarangani police director, said Ruben Latang Jr., brother of Sabino and Angelito Latang, who were earlier captured by the police, surrendered to the police station in Glan with the help of Barangay Captain Boy Roque of Laguimit.

Before his surrender, another suspect, Enrique Dundan, yielded to the police in Glan, Valeriano stated in a report to Chief Supt. Danilo Mangila, Central Mindanao police chief.

Operatives of the police in nearby Jose Abad Santos town, Davao del Sur, backed up by Glan policemen, arrested Sabino and Angelito Latang for the killing of Celso Lamitod, barangay tanod of Riod del Pilar, Glan.

Mangila had ordered Valeriano to conduct a hunt for the "cannibal gang," which has sown terror in the far-flung villages at the borders of Glan, Sarangani and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur.

In the 70s to 80s, the first "cannibalism" pratice was attributed to the group of Kumander Bucay, whose members were reported to have eaten the flesh of their Muslim victims during the "Ilaga" and Moro rebel fighting.

Norberto Manero Jr., chieftain of the dreaded Ilaga, a para-military group, was even convicted of slaying of Italian priest Fr. Tulio Favalli in Tulunan, North Cotabato, where, he and his brother allegedly tasted the brain of the slain priest.

In a press conference, Ruben Latang admitted that he took part in the killing of Lamitod last month but said, unlike his brothers Sabino and Angelito and the other gang members, he "did not eat the victim’s flesh nor drink his blood."

Ruben said his conscience was bothering him everyday and has no peace of mind so he decided to surrender with the help of his friend, Barangay Captain Roque.

Also, the suspect confessed that the "cannibal gang" killed Lamitod for his unpaid debt of only R40.

He confirmed that the "cannibal gang" did eat the "human heart and liver" of their victims and drink their blood, believing that it is an effective "amulet" to protect them from bullets and bladed weapons.

"It’s true that my brothers Sabino and Angelito and the rest of the gang, except me, took part in eating the flesh and drinking the blood of our victims as part of a ritual to acquired an amulet," Ruben Latang told reporters.

Cops hunt gang tagged in cannibalism

Aug. 8, 2005

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Fear grips residents of remote villages in the boundary of Jose Abad Santos town in Davao del Sur province and Glan town in Sarangani province after the leader of a cult allegedly involved in cannibalism managed to elude arrest.

Police have not yet established the name of the cultist group that became known and feared for eating the liver of their victims and drinking their blood.

Chief Inspector Reynaldo Mascardo, police chief of Jose Abad Santos, told reporters that his men were able to arrest three members of the group.

The suspects -- brothers Angelito and Sabino Latang, and a certain Lito Vicente -- are now detained at the Digos City jail awaiting trial for murder and illegal possession of firearms charges.

They were identified by a certain Kresing Limbudan, a member of the Manobo tribe in Barangay Nuwing, as the ones who stabbed and killed her husband on June 27.

Abandoned farms

Mascardo said he created a team to hunt down the suspects after several residents in Barangay Nuwing and Kitumbod in Jose Abad Santos abandoned their farms for fear of the cult.

Mascardo claimed that the residents found that the group was not only involved in landgrabbing but also in cattle rustling.

"To instill fear among residents, the cannibals kill their victims in full public view. They show to the public their eating of the liver and drinking of the blood," Mascardo said.

Life after jail

The police official identified the leader of the group as a certain Dodong Latang, who escaped from jail in Malita town, Davao del Sur.

Mascardo said Latang went to Nuwing and formed a cult.

Angelito and Sabino Latang were arrested while harvesting coconuts in a plantation owned by one of their victims.

Police recovered from them unlicensed firearms, amulets and a sharp bolo allegedly used in killing their victims.

Other victims of the group were identified as Benjamin Untoy, Cording Amadora and Celso Labiton.

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