Ex-Maguindanao mayor linked to Davao City blast, dies in escape try
MANILA, Philippines — A former mayor of Talitay, Maguindanao who is linked to the 2016 bombing of a market in Davao City was shot dead on Thursday by his police escorts after he allegedly tried to escape while being taken to Camp Crame.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said operatives of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested Montasir Sabal in the Port of Batangas at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Also arrested with Sabal were his helper Norayda Nandang, 43; and his driver Muhaliden Mukaram, 36.
Police officers also swooped on a vehicle at the parking lot of the Batangas City port which was believed to be owned by Sabal and arrested suspects Aika de Asis, 34; and Ailyn Compania, 45; who work as helpers for Sabal. Also arrested were his drivers Zuharto Monico, 28; and Wilson Santos, 41.
Among those seized from the suspects were a Colt AR 15 rifle with serial no. ML63401; an M16 A4 rifle magazine, a Glock 23 pistol with four magazines, a fragmentation grenade, five mobile phones, two folding knives, and two heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu (crystal meth) worth P200,000.
Meanwhile, the seized backup vehicle yielded assorted identification cards, a .50 caliber machinegun, a Colt AR 15 rifle with serial no. ML 63501 with one magazine, an M1 Garand rifle, parts for a mortar, two mobile phones, a Glock 19 pistol with serial no. ADKE 497, a rifle grenade, suspected shabu worth P2.5 million, and P582,000 cash in various denominations.
Sabal meanwhile yielded 400 grams of shabu (crystal meth), unlicensed guns, and more than P600,000 cash when he was arrested, said Eleazar. According to Eleazar, Sabal has standing warrants for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act), and for illegal possession of explosives.
Eleazar said Sabal was one of the planners of the 2016 bomb attack in Davao City and a supplier of guns and explosives to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
According to the PNP, Sabal was being taken to the CIDG’s office inside Camp Crame when he allegedly tried to grab the gun of one of his escorts at about 5:20 a.m. along N. Domingo St. Sabal was shot by his escorts and was rushed to the San Juan Medical Center where he was declared dead at 6:13 a.m.
“The suspect grabbed his police escort’s firearm while onboard the vehicle which resulted in a scuffle wherein he was able to shoot the police officer beside him. Posing danger, the accompanying police officers prompted to use reasonable force that resulted in wounding the arrested person through the use of his firearm,” said CIDG Director Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro in his report to Eleazar.
Sabal resigned as mayor of Talitay in May. He was also a former member of the PNP’s Special Action Force from 1998 to 2010, the PNP said. Police added that Sabal was also included in the national illegal drugs watchlist.
According to the PNP, Sabal during his incumbency was also charged by the Office of the Ombudsman and was eventually suspended for failure to disclose his properties and business interests in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth from 2011 to 2015.
Eleazar added that Sabal also failed to initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sangguniang Bayan for the Municipality’s anti-illegal drugs program as mandated under RA 9165.
“The arrest of ex-mayor Sabal and his companions, is part of the continuing effort of the PNP, primarily through the CIDG under ‘Oplan Pagtugis,’ to account for wanted persons with outstanding warrants of arrests,” Eleazar said.
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