Kin of 3 young men slain in Sultan Kudarat refute cops’ shootout claim | Inquirer News
President Marcos, PNP chief urged to look into case

Kin of 3 young men slain in Sultan Kudarat refute cops’ shootout claim

/ 04:30 AM December 06, 2022

DAVAO CITY—The families of the three youths slain by policemen at dawn on Dec. 2 in Lambayong town of Sultan Kudarat province refuted the police’s claim that they were killed in a shootout, saying the victims were unarmed.

Samanoden Mustapha Ali, 19, was only out to road test his new motorcycle in the company of his two friends when they were shot dead, said his brother Sahaboden Ali, 22.

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Ali said his brother was eager to try out his motorcycle as the latter planned to join the roadshow in town on Dec. 5.

Ali, who talked to the Inquirer by phone, said his brother left home at 6 p.m. of Dec. 1 and stayed with his relatives until 12 a.m., before he was joined by cousins Horton Ansa Jr., 19, and Anshad Ansa, 20, whom he took aboard his motorcycle for a ride.

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Lambayong town police chief Maj. Jenahmeel Toñacao has told reporters the three youths on a motorcycle were flagged down for inspection at a checkpoint in the town’s Purok 4, Barangay Didtaras, past 12 a.m. on Dec. 2, but they sped away, prompting the police to give chase.

The town police reported the motorcycle crashed somewhere in the village’s Purok Masagana, and that the three youths opened fire when the lawmen approached, triggering a firefight.

Police claimed to have recovered two Colt .45-caliber pistols, one hand grenade, pieces of live ammunition, one unit of Suzuki Raider 150 and a piece of a sachet containing suspected “shabu” (crystal meth) from the body of one of the victims.

Sultan Kudarat Gov. Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, however, decided to relieve Toñacao and the other policemen involved in the operation from their posts pending an independent probe into the incident.

Impartial probe

Mangudadatu said on Monday that the relief of Toñacao, who admitted having led the operation that killed the three youths, would pave the way for an impartial investigation, which was what the families of the slain young men have demanded from the government.

“We assure the public and the families of the victims that we are exhausting all efforts that there will be justice. Wala tayong kinikilingan (We will not side with anyone),” he added.

The victims’ families have vehemently refuted the shootout claim.

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Police Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr., the father of slain Horton Jr., said his son did not own a pistol and it was impossible for the young men to be trading shots with the police.

He appealed for an impartial investigation and sought the help of President Marcos and Philippine National Police Director General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to deliver justice to his son and his friends.

“President Marcos, Director General Azurin, I am appealing for your help. I am convinced that my son was innocent,” said Ansa Sr., who reports to the Shariff Saydona Mustapha town police in Maguindanao del Sur province.

Ali also belied the police’s claim that his brother and his friends were armed and had illegal drugs with them, adding the victims bore signs of having been strangled aside from having been fatally shot.

Ali described his brother as a carefree young man, who bought his motorcycle as soon as he reached legal age. Samanoden, who used to be a senior high school student of Notre Dame of Lambayong school, stopped going to school during the pandemic and moved to Lambayong National High School as soon as in-person classes started again this year to finish Grade 12.

Dare

Ali said the police’s claim that his brother’s motorcycle crashed in the midst of the chase was not true because the vehicle was unscathed.

Toñacao insisted the operation was legitimate and dared relatives to file complaints against them.

The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) condemned the killing and called for a speedy and impartial investigation so justice would be served for the victims’ families.

The BHRC, which is mandated to protect the rights of every Moro within and outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was still mum on whether or not it would conduct its own investigation.

Lawyer Ronald Torres, chair of the Bangsamoro Business Council, offered legal services to the victims’ parents.

—REPORTS FROM GERMELINA LACORTE, EDWIN FERNANDEZ AND TAHER SOLAIMAN INQ

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