Ex-mayor on narco list shot dead
Montasser Sabal, former mayor of Talitay, was in a police car traveling along N. Domingo street when the incident happened at around 5:20 a.m., according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Ex-mayor on narco list shot dead

Ed Amoroso, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former Maguindanao town mayor included in President Duterte’s narco list, who was arrested on Wednesday night along with six others at the port of Batangas for reportedly transporting high-powered firearms and drugs, was killed during an alleged scuffle with a police officer in San Juan yesterday.

Montasser Sabal, former mayor of Talitay, was in a police car traveling along N. Domingo street when the incident happened at around 5:20 a.m., according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

Eleazar said Sabal was among the suspects in the 2016 bombing in Davao City, which killed 15 people and injured at least 70.

Prior to joining politics, Sabal served as a Special Action Force trooper with training in disposal of explosives.

Eleazar said Sabal was supposed to be transported to Camp Crame in Quezon City when the suspect allegedly grabbed the firearm of a police officer and a scuffle ensued.

“Meron siyang nabaril na isang kasamahan nating pulis pero nakasuot ng vest at maayos naman ‘yung pulis na kasama doon sa sasakyan,” Eleazar told reporters.

The PNP said another police officer fired at Sabal during the commotion.

Sabal was taken to the San Juan Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Sabal was arrested by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) along with Norayda Nandang, 43; Muhaliden Mukaram, 36; Aika de Asis, 34; Ailyn Compania, 45; Zuharto Monico, 28, and Wilson Santos, 41, at the Batangas port on Wednesday.

Sabal and three of the suspects were on a RORO vessel while three others were at the port’s parking lot when they were arrested.

Eleazar said police were armed with a warrant for the arrest of Sabal issued by the Cotabato City Regional Trial Court Branch 27 for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and RA 9516 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

The group of Sabal was reportedly headed to the Visayas with a cache of firearms.

The suspects allegedly yielded an M-16 rifle, one .50-caliber machine gun, a Colt AR15 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, two 9mm handguns, a fragmentation grenade, assorted rounds of ammunition and 386 grams of shabu valued at P2.7 million.

Eleazar said they are investigating if Sabal’s group would use the firearms in next year’s general elections.

“We all know that these firearms kapag napunta sa mga criminal groups ay puwedeng magamit sa eleksyon and other terrorist acts,” Eleazar said.

Police said a background investigation on Sabal showed that he is also a supplier of armaments for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

The other suspects are being held at the CIDG headquarters at Camp Crame on charges of illegal possession of drugs, firearms and explosives.

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