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Cops kill ex-Maguindanao mayor linked to ’16 Davao blast, say he tried to escape

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A former town mayor of Talitay, Maguindanao, facing drug charges and previously tagged as a supplier of weapons to an outlawed Moro group was shot and killed on Thursday by operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).

Ex-mayor Montasser Sabal died at the San Juan Medical Center after he was shot by his escorts who were bringing him to the CIDG headquarters at Camp Crame following his arrest in Batangas.

In his report to PNP Chief General Guillermo Eleazar, CIDG chief Major General Albert Ignatius Ferro said that Sabal grabbed the service firearm of his police escort, who was seated beside him, while they were on their way to Camp Crame at around 5:20 a.m. The incident occurred in San Juan City.

“The suspect grabbed his police escort’s firearm while on board the vehicle which resulted in a scuffle wherein he was able to shoot the police officer beside him. Posing danger, the accompanying police officers [had] to use reasonable force that resulted in wounding the arrested person through the use of his firearm,” said Ferro.

Sabal had been tagged as among the suppliers of firearms and explosives to the breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which the government said was among the groups allied with the international terrorist group Islamic State.

The former mayor was also tagged as among the planners of the bombing in Davao City in 2016.

Eleazar said Sabal was arrested at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday aboard the Reyna de Luna 4 at the Batangas Port in Batangas City after CIDG operatives learned of his arrival from Mindanao. The policemen were armed with an arrest warrant for the former mayor’s two pending criminal cases.

Seized inside his vehicle, a white Toyota Innova with conduction sticker SOU 770, were firearms and assorted magazines that included a Colt AR 15, a Glock 9mm, fragmentation grenade, two folded knives, two vehicle plates, P48,000 in different denominations, five mobile phones, more than 28 grams of shabu and assorted identification cards.

The CIDG operatives also arrested Norayda Nandang, 43, house helper; Muhaliden Mukaram, 36, driver; and, Aika de Asis, 34, house helper, who were with Sabal.

Ferro said that CIDG operatives carried out pursuit operations against another vehicle, which was at the parking lot of the Batangas City port and was believed owned by Sabal that resulted in the arrest of Ailyn Compania, 45, house helper; Zuharto Monico, 28, driver; and Wilson Santos, 41, driver.

Confiscated from the vehicle, a white Nissan Navarra with conduction sticker F1R917, were a 50 caliber crew served weapon; a Colt AR 15 with serial no. ML 63501; a magazine for Colt AR 15; a Garand rifle with built in magazine; a Glock 9mm; a rifle grenade; mortar accessories and various types of magazines and ammunition.

The operatives also seized shabu with an estimated street value of P2.5 million and P582,000 in different denominations.

Eleazar, who was showed with the haul, said Sabal was a former policeman assigned to the Special Action Force from 1998 to 2008 and served as mayor of Talitay from 2010 to 2013 and vice mayor of the same town from 2013 to 2016.

“Accordingly, Sabal was former member of PNP SAF from 1998 to 2008 and with specialized trainings on Intelligence, Urban Counter Revolutionary Warfare Course, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Sniper’s Course,” Eleazar said.

He said Sabal was also listed under the National Watchlist on Illegal Drugs (NWID).

During his term as a local official, he was charged by the Office of the Ombudsman and eventually suspended for failure to disclose his properties and business interests in his Statement of Liabilities and Net Worth from 2011 to 2015.

The CIDG said that intelligence reports showed that Sabal was among those involved in the Davao City bombing that happened in September 2016 and was a full time supporter and served as among the supplier of armaments and explosives to the BIFF.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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