Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Occidental was gripped in fear when a man commandeered a passenger van in the airport compound and breached the main gate on Monday. Police identified the suspect as Victor Samban of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Junal Andaya, the driver of the commandeered passenger van, said that the engine of his vehicle was turned on while preparing to pick up newly arrived passengers following the arrival of a passenger plane. The opportunity gave Samban to take the wheel, closed the door and speed away.
Police sounded a province-wide alarm prompting municipal police stations in the west coast of Mismais Occidental to blockade the getaway vehicle while the airport police gave chase.
The suspect rammed a passenger van along the Laguindingan highway, also commandeered a taxi cab, as he fled towards Iligan City.
An hour-long chase by police patrol ensued before firing on the taxicab tires as the suspect was cornered in Libertad town.
Samban, in an investigation, said that he has been at the Laguindingan airport since Sunday for a flight to Manila on Monday.
He said that he worked as a company driver in Manila, but was on vacation since Dec. 23 in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
The suspect alleged that some unidentified persons, he described as “death squad,” were out to kill him, prompting him to commandeer a car to escape from them.
Police Inspector Ulysses Teves of the Laguindingan police said the suspect is now detained at the Laguindingan police station pending filing of appropriate charges.
The operation at the airport was back to normal, but the security has been tightened as the police conduct “double checking” of all vehicles coming in and out of the airport’s compound. (With PNA report)