Former Maguindanao mayor in drug watchlist arrested, killed after grabbing gun of CIDG cop

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) shot dead on Thursday morning, June 17, a former mayor of the Municipality of Talitay in Maguindanao, who was facing drug charges and was tagged as among the suppliers of firearms and explosive materials to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), after he grabbed the service firearm of a police escort while he was being transported to Camp Crame in Quezon City hours after his arrest at the Port of Batangas.

Montasser Sabal, alias Sabal, was declared dead at the San Juan Medical Center. He was shot after he grabbed the service firearm of his police escort sitting beside him in a vehicle that was heading towards the National Capital Region Field Unit of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at Camp Crame in Quezon City at 5:20 a.m. on Thursday. The incident occurred in San Juan City.

“The suspect grabbed his police escort’s firearm while on board 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 Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro in his report to Philippine National Police Chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

PGen Eleazar said Sabal was arrested at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Batangas Port in Batangas City after CIDG operatives learned of his arrival from Mindanao.

Armed with an arrest warrant for cases of violations of the Republic Act 9516 with no bail recommended and of RA 9165 with P200,000 bail, CIDG operatives arrested Sabal Onboard Reyna De Luna 4, Port of Batangas.

Seized inside his vehicle, a white Toyota Innova with conduction sticker SOU 770, were the following:

a. One (1) pc M16 A4 Colt AR 15 with serial no. ML63401;

b. One (1) pc magazine for M16 A4;

c. Six (6) pcs live ammunition for M16 A4;

d. One (1) pc Glock 23 9MM;

e. Four (4) pcs magazine for Glock 23 9MM;

f. Forty-four (44) pcs live ammunition for Glock 23 9MM;

g. One (1) pc fragmentation grenade;

h. Two (2) pcs vehicle plates with plate no. KAG 4091;

i. PHP48,840.00 in different denominations;

j. Five (5) pcs cellphone;

k. Two (2) folded knives;

l. Assorted documents;

m. Two (2) pcs heat sealed plastic sachets containing suspected Metamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as “SHABU” weighing 23.9844 grams & 4.4388 grams with DDB value amounting to PHP 200,000.00, respectively;

n. Assorted IDs.

Also arrested were Norayda Nandang, 43, house helper; Muhaliden Mukaram, 36, driver; and, Aika de Asis, 34, house helper.

PMGEN Ferro said the pursuit operation conducted on another vehicle, which was at the parking lot of the Batangas City port and is believed to be owned by Sabal, also resulted in the arrest of Ailyn Compania, 45, house helper; Zuharto Monico, 28, driver; and, Wilson Santos, 41, driver.

Confiscated in the vehicle, a white Nissan Navarra with conduction sticker F1R917, were the following:

a. One (1) pc 50 caliber crew served weapon;

b. One (1) pc Colt AR 15 with serial no. ML 63501;

c. One (1) pc magazine for Colt AR 15;

d. One (1) pc M1 Garand rifle with built in magazine;

e. Fifty-one (51) pcs live ammunition for 7.62;

f. Seventeen (17) pcs live ammunition for M16;

g. Accessories for mortar;

h. Two (2) pcs cellular phones;

i. One (1) pc vehicle key;

j. One (1) pc Glock 19 9MM with serial no. ADKE 497;

k. Three (3) pcs magazines for Glock 19 9MM;

l. One (1) rifle grenade;

m. Fifty-one (51) pcs live ammunition for Glock 19 9MM; and

n. Two (2) pcs over hand tied transparent plastic sachet containing suspected Metamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as “SHABU” weighing more or less 201.917 grams & 156.365 grams with DDB value amounting to more or less PHP2,500,000.00.

O. Five hundred eighty two thousand pesos (Php 582,000) in different denominations

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

“Accordingly, Sabal was 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,” said PGen Eleazar.

He said Sabal was also listed under the National Watchlist on Illegal Drugs (NWID).

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 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 RA 9165.

Intelligence reports showed that he was one among those involved in the Davao City bombing that happened last sept 2016 which is an act of terrorism and further disclosed that he is a full time supporter and serves as one among the supplier of armaments and explosives to BIFF.

PGen Eleazar lauded the CIDG, other operating units and law enforcement agencies involved for this accomplishment, saying the neutralization of Sabal is a big blow to the chain of supply of firearms and explosive materials to the BIFF which is responsible in various attacks and bombings in Maguindanao and nearby areas.

“Since siya ay namatay 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 PGen Eleazar. PNP.GOV.PH