Ex-mayor on ‘narco list’ killed after grabbing escort cop’s gun

MANILA (AdChoiceTV News) – A former town mayor in Maguindanao, who was included on the government’s ‘narcolist’, was killed after allegedly grabbing the service firearm of a police escort during his transport to Camp Crame in Quezon City early Thursday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, identified the fatality as former Talitay, Maguindanao mayor Montasser Sabal, who is wanted for drug and illegal possession of firearms charges.

NARCO MAYOR KILLED. PNP Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar presents items seized from former Talitay, Maguindanao mayor Montasser Sabal in a press briefing on Thursday (June 17, 2021). Sabal was killed after allegedly grabbing the gun of a police escort while en route to Camp Crame, Quezon City hours after he was arrested by CIDG members at the Batangas Port in Batangas City.

Citing the report of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Eleazar said Sabal was arrested around 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Batangas Port in Batangas City after operatives from the CIDG learned about his arrival from Mindanao.

At around 5:20 a.m. on Thursday, police said Sabal was shot dead after grabbing the service firearm of the police escort sitting beside him in a vehicle that was heading towards the National Capital Region Field Unit of the CIDG at Camp Crame.

Sabal was declared dead on arrival at the San Juan Medical Center.

“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 officer prompted to use reasonable force that resulted in wounding the arrested person through the use of his firearm,” said CIDG director Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro in his report to Eleazar.

During the operation on Wednesday night, authorities also seized Sabal’s vehicle, a white Toyota Innova with conduction sticker SOU 770, various firearms and live ammunition, a fragmentation grenade, two vehicle plates, PHP48,840 cash in different denominations, five mobile phones, two folded knives, assorted documents, PHP200,000 worth of shabu and assorted IDs.

Also arrested were the suspect’s house helpers Norayda Nandang and Aika de Asis and driver Muhaliden Mukaram.

CIDG operatives also seized another vehicle, a white Nissan Navarra with conduction sticker F1R917, at the parking lot of the Batangas port which is believed to be also owned by Sabal and arrested three other persons identified as househelp Ailyn Compania and drivers Zuharto Monico and Wilson Santos.

Confiscated from the vehicle were various high-powered firearms and accessories, live ammunition, two mobile phones, a rifle grenade, around PHP2.5 million worth of shabu, and PHP582,000 cash in different denominations.

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

“Accordingly, Sabal was a 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,” he added.

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During his incumbency, 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 Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) from 2011 to 2015.

Further information revealed that he failed to initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sangguniang Bayan for the municipality’s anti-illegal drugs program as mandated under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“He was also considered as a narco politician guilty of dishonesty and neglect of duty. That is why an order for his dismissal was issued and affirmed by the Supreme Court. Siya yung mga nauna na napasama doon sa mga sinasabing narco politicians and ang basis naman natin nun is nagkaroon talaga siya ng kaso (He was among the first to be included in the list of alleged narco politicians and our basis for that is that he had a case) and warrant for his arrest for illegal drugs as well as illegal possession of explosives,” Eleazar said.

Intelligence reports showed that Sabal was among those involved in the September 2016 Davao City bombing and is a full-time supporter and supplier of firearms and explosives to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Eleazar said neutralization of Sabal is a big blow to the chain of supply of firearms and explosive materials to the BIFF which is responsible for various attacks and bombings in Maguindanao and nearby areas.

“Since siya ay namatay (Since he died) while under police custody, it is part of the protocol for the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to conduct a motu-proprio investigation. We will leave the investigation to our IAS and my instruction to IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo is to expedite the conduct of the investigation,” said Eleazar.

Eleazar said Sabal’s cohorts will undergo investigation to determine appropriate cases to be filed against them.

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/ITC — AdChoiceTV News

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