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Ex-MILF fighter, suspected motorcycle thief killed in gunfights with Manila cops

/ 06:16 PM January 24, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The alleged crime kingpin of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, Manila, who is a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and a suspected motorcycle thief were killed early Tuesday in two separate armed encounters with Manila policemen.

Abdul Basit Malacao, 41, the former commander of the MILF 105th Command based in Maguindanao province and previously arrested in May 2003 for allegedly participating in a plot to bomb areas in Metro Manila, was killed on the spot when he allegedly traded shots with operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 9.

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Superintendent Ernesto Tendero, commander of the MPD Malate Station 9, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they had been tracking down Malacao for several years. He said Malacao “virtually played god in Isla Puting Bato” as he “decides who dies and who lives in Isla Puting Bato. Nobody enters Isla Puting Bato without his blessing.”

Meanwhile, the suspected motorcycle thief killed in a gunfight around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday with operatives of the MPD Ermita station 5 remained unidentified and was described to be between 20 and 25 years old, five feet and three inches tall, and was clad in a red and white sweat shirt worn over a pair of orange shorts.

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At around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, operatives of the MPD station 9 conducted a drug buy-bust operation at a two-story house in Isla Puting Bato against four of Malacao’s alleged henchmen when the former MILF commander surfaced, armed with a .45-cal. pistol.

“He thought that our operatives had already left with his men in tow and decided to surface,” Tendero explained, stressing that the police operation was specifically intended to bring the suspect out in the open.

Malacao fired at the remaining policemen who fired back, killing the suspect instantly.

The former MILF commander was included in the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) order of battle, and is believed to have shifted to crime controlling most of Manila’s illegal drug trade, illegal gambling, gunrunning, and car-theft operations from his stronghold at Isla Puting Bato.

“He was the prime suspect in the slay try on Barangay 20, Zone 2, Chairman Viviano Navarra of Isla Puting Bato,” Tendero told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Navarra survived an October, 2010, ambush where he was attacked while inspecting the drainage system repairs on Gate 10, Area B, at the Parola Compound. The attack was linked to an anti-illegal drug saturation drive conducted on Isla Puting Bato, which resulted in the roundup of some 40 persons at the site.

On the other hand, the suspected motorcycle thief was killed in a shootout after he was allegedly caught in the act of stealing a motorbike, owned by a member of the NCRPO Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB), which was parked at the Remedios Circle in Malate.

Senior Police Officer 2 Milbert Balinggan, of the MPD Homicide Section, said that before the encounter, which happened at the corner of Guerrero and Remedios streets in Malate, PO1 John Robert Valbuena, assigned with the NCRPO-RPSB, of Paco, Manila, had parked his Mio motorcycle (1535-UK) at the Remedios Circle.

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Valbuena was walking from Malvar Street to his parked motorcycle at the Remedios Circle when he noticed a man taking his motorcycle. When the NCRPO operative accosted the man, the suspect allegedly pulled out a gun and fired at Valbuena, who was able to duck for cover.

The armed suspect then ran toward his waiting companion, who was aboard another motorcycle with no license plate, and fled. Valbuena was able to shout for help, alerting operatives of the MPD station 5, who were conducting anti-crime operations and routine patrol at the time.

A chase ensued and shots were traded until the motorcycle-riding suspects crashed along Guerrero Street, causing the passenger to fall off the bike. The motorcycle rider sped away, leaving behind his companion who continued to exchange gunfire with the pursuing lawmen. The suspected motorcycle thief was killed instantly from multiple bullet wounds in the body. His remains were taken to the St. Yvan funeral parlor for autopsy.

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TAGS: Abdul Basit Malacao, criminal suspects, gun battles, Manila Police District, Philippines - Metro, police operations, Shootout
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