Ex-cop nabbed in buy-bust operation tagged in poll exec slayBy Ayan C. Mellejor
DAVAO CITY – A former policeman arrested in a drug buy-bust here on Wednesday night has turned out to be a prime suspect in the 2007 killing of a Commission on Elections officer in Manila.
Chief Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa, city police chief, said Basser Bato Ampatuan, 39 and a former Police Officer 1 based in Shariff Kabunsuan town in Maguindanao, was arrested in a drug-buy bust here Wednesday night.
But Dela Rosa said they were still verifying information that Ampatuan was one of the suspects in the Maguindanao massacre.
Dela Rosa said Ampatuan, who refused to talk to the press, was arrested for the killing of the Comelec Legal Department head Alioden Dalaig outside the Hyatt Hotel Casino in Manila on Nov. 10, 2007.
Witnesses, during police line-up in Manila, pointed to Ampatuan as one the suspects in the Dalaig killing.
But dela Rosa said Ampatuan claimed he was released for lack of evidence in connection with the Dalaig case. Dela Rosa, however, said Ampatuan did not undergo inquest because the warrant for his arrest was issued only months later.
Sta. Ana Police Precinct Chief Ronald Lao said before his arrest Wednesday night that Ampatuan was placed under surveillance for drug peddling in the city.
Confiscated during his arrest were the P1,500 marked money and a plastic sachet containing what was believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu”.
Lao said Ampatuan claimed he was just visiting the city.