MANILA, Philippines -- Agusan del Sur's most wanted criminal was arrested after a shootout in San Francisco town before dawn Friday, police said.
Kidnap group leader Jobert "Ondo" Perez's minions were nabbed after engaging in a shootout with policemen.
Perez himself escaped, but police were able to arrest him finally in a hospital where he was having treatment after sustaining two gunshot wounds in the torso and hips.
Police said they received information that Perez and his group were planning to rob a convenience store past midnight.
Authorities then immediately deployed three policemen near the store.
But before the police could confront the suspects, Perez suddenly hurled a grenade in an attempt to escape, resulting in a shootout.
After the shootout, suspects Ricardo Baute, Jerome Palay and Rolando Enggalen were immediately arrested by the police.
Enggalen, however, denied that he is a cohort of Perez.
Recovered from the suspects were cellphones, believed to be from their victims, and different types of weapons.
Police also recovered fragments of the grenade from the crime scene.
Agusan Del Sur Police Chief Nilo Texon said three policemen were also injured after the shootout.
They were identified as PO1 Jezrel Paje, PO1 Raymundo Villar and PO1 James Pontillo.
Four other alleged cohorts were earlier arrested in separate police operations. They were identified as Gally Margana, Marlon Ginsod, Carlo Biona and Julie Bola.
Authorities said the notorious crime group is behind the numerous robbery incidents in the town.
All suspects are now facing charges of robbery.
Both Perez and Margana, meanwhile, already have warrants of arrest for robbery, kidnapping and murder charges.
Perez was formerly jailed for taking 79 people hostage in Barangay Prosperidad in 2009, but was released in 2011 to help end another hostage-taking incident led by his relatives in Agusan del Sur. -- from a report by Charmaine Awitan, ABS-CBN News Caraga