NBI agents escort Cedric Lee, cohort onto plane in handcuffs
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Passengers at the departure area of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport were surprised to see fugitive businessman Cedric Lee in handcuffs as he and co-accused Simon Palma were being escorted to a Philippine Airlines plane bound for Manila.
Some, however, were quick enough to take out their mobile phones and took pictures of Lee who was wearing shorts and orange polo shirt.
At first, Lee appeared to be stoic but later cracked a smile as he tried to look ahead even if some passengers were jeering at him.
“Good thing that he was arrested,” said a woman who took pictures of Lee at the aiport. She declined to give her name.
Lee declined to answer questions from reporters who were tailing him all the way to the tarmac of the DZR Airport.
Lee and Palma, who also goes by the name of Zimmer Raz, arrived at the DZR Airport at 5:59 a.m. on Sunday. They were escorted by members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in a convoy of four vehicles. The two were on board in a white van with tinted windows.
They were first to board the Philippine Airline Flight Number 2982, which left for Manila at 6:40 a.m.
The commercial plane had 156 passengers who were surprised to discover that their co-passengers were accused of detaining and mauling comedian and television host Vhong Navarro.
The two, along with others, are facing charges of serious illegal detention – a non-bailable offense – filed by Navarro.
According to a source, Palma is a native of Santa Margarita town, Samar.
An NBI agent, who was part of the operation to arrest Lee but declined to be identified, said the two were arrested about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday inside a private beach house at Lunang, a coastal village located a kilometer away from the town proper of Dolores, Eastern Samar.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said Lee was arrested in Oras town in Eastern Samar. Oras is about 15 kilometers away from Dolores town.
“The entire operation took only about five minutes although he tried to run away,” said the agent. “It was undeniably a successful operation.”
He said Lee and Raz were seen in the area days before the Holy Week.
He added the two were using their cellular phones in making calls. They didn’t realize that the authorities were tracking their whereabouts through the cellular phones’ global positioning system (GPS).
When the NBI agents barged into the property, Lee was swimming while Palma was inside the beach house.
Palma didn’t resist arrest while Lee tried to run but was immediately caught.
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