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Fugitive Jason Ivler captured after shootout with NBI team

(Updated 2:25 p.m.) After two months in hiding, the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Malacañang official's son was arrested in the Quezon City home of his mother early Monday after a shootout with agents of the National Bureau of Investigation. Fugitive Jason Ivler, who was captured inside a basement hideout in Blue Ridge subdivision, was in critical condition at a Quezon City hospital, a GMA Flash report said on Monday. But in a later report, radio dzBB’s Allan Gatus quoted Quirino Memorial Medical Center head surgeon Dr. Fernando Lopez as saying that the 27-year-old Ivler was already in stable condition and had been transferred to the intensive care unit. Two NBI agents also suffered minor injuries, including a female agent involved in the raid. "Nahuli si Jason Ivler pero may na-injure na mga kasamahan namin. Sketchy pa ang information na natatanggap ko (We arrested Ivler but a couple of our agents were wounded. The reports I am getting are still sketchy)," NBI spokesman Ricardo Diaz said in an interview on dzBB radio. Ivler, who traded shots with NBI agents using an M-16 firearm, had two bullet wounds and was rushed to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, according to NBI sources. GMA News' Emil Sumangil reported on Unang Balita that the NBI had also arrested Ivler’s mother, Marlene Aguilar, for trying to delay the agents. Mother's hysterics The report said the NBI had combed at least five rooms. Before Ivler was found hiding in an underground room, his mother had gone into hysterics in an alleged attempt to delay the agents' operation. When agents knocked on Ivler's door, he reportedly started firing his gun, according to Sumangil, who was at the scene. Ms. Aguilar, the sister of folk legend Freddie Aguilar, earlier denied knowing where her son was, and even publicly appealed to him to surrender. The NBI now believes Ivler had been hiding in his mother's house nearly the entire time that he was wanted and had not left the country, as previously suspected. Ivler had evaded capture during two previous raids on the house, the last one in December. Before the agents forced open the door of Ivler's basement room, Marlene started screaming at the agents to "get out of my house!" “May sigaw ng babae (We heard a woman shouting)," a neighbor said, referring to reports of Mrs. Aguilar’s hysterics. After a five-minute exchange of gunfire, NBI agents were seen in a news video pinning down the wounded Ivler in his room and handcuffing him. The fugitive was wearing shorts and had tattoos running down his arms. Ivler was charged with the shooting of Renato Victor Ebarle Jr. last November 18. Ebarle's father is an undersecretary at the Office of the President. The government tapped the International Police Organization's help after Ivler's mother claimed he had fled to Hawaii. Last December, Qatar authorities arrested a namesake of Ivler, Jason Aguilar, and deported him to the Philippines earlier this month. In 2004, Ivler also figured in a car accident along the C-5 Ortigas flyover that killed a Malacañang official, presidential assistant for resettlement Undersecretary Nestor Ponce. Ivler did not show up for hearings on the 2004 accident, forcing government authorities to declare him a fugitive.

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Ivler resists arrest Even after being hit and wounded, Ivler was reportedly still lunging at a team of government agents serving the warrant for his arrest. "Kahit may tama siya gusto niya pumutok nang pumutok (Even if he was hit, he kept trying to fire his weapon at us)," NBI lawyer-agent Rosauro Bautista said in an interview on dwIZ radio. Bautista said two NBI agents (not one as initially reported) were wounded in the predawn operation. One was identified as agent Anna Labao. "Ang gamit niya mahaba, (kahit na natamaan) tuluy-tuloy ang kanyang lusob (He used a high-powered firearm. Even when he was hit he continued to lunge at us)," Bautista said. Even after being taken to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center for treatment, Ivler continued to thrash, trying to remove the tubes attached to his body, according to one Dr. Villamucho. "He was pulling at the tubes inside the operating room. We suspect he was hit in the intestine, which is a serious injury," he told dzBB radio in Filipino. He said Ivler, whose blood pressure had shot up when he was brought to the hospital, was hit on the left shoulder and left flank. The wounds were "through and through," he added. But agent Labao, who was grazed in the chest area during the encounter, appeared in fine condition. "Pina-routine chest x-ray pero mukhang okay, ayaw nya magpa-x-ray (We had her undergo a routine X-ray in the chest but she appeared okay. She did not want her X-ray taken)," he said. Wet towel a clue According to Sumangil's report on Unang Hirit, NBI agents had tracked Ivler at his mother's house. The footage showed the NBI agents entering the house, which was decorated with large tarpaulins of his mother, an artist. According to Sumangil, there were clues that Ivler had been hiding in the house as a wet towel was spotted, though no visible member of the household appeared to have bathed. The NBI had hoped for a peaceful surrender, but Ivler allegedly fired his gun from the basement, where he was hiding, even before the door was opened. Ivler will likely be transferred to St. Luke's Medical Center from QMMC, where he was brought for initial treatment. — with Carmela Lapeña/LBG/HGS/NPA, GMANews.TV