Ex-mayor dies after allegedly grabbing police escort's firearm
The former mayor of Talitay, Maguindanao who was arrested for illegal drugs and firearms in Batangas died in a shooting incident after he allegedly grabbed the firearm of a police escort while they were on their way to Camp Crame on Thursday morning.
While suspects are on their way to Camp Crame around 5:20am, Montasser Sabal grabbed the service firearm of a police escort, said Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) head Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro.
"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," Ferro said.
"Posing danger, the accompanying police officers prompted to use reasonable force that resulted in wounding the arrested person through the use of his firearm," he added.
Sabal, a former member of the Special Action Force, was declared dead at the San Juan Medical Center.
Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said Sabal was facing drug charges and tagged as among the suppliers of firearms and explosive materials to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Eleazar said CIDG operatives served an arrest warrant against Sabal around 7pm last Wednesday at the Batangas Port upon learning of his arrival from Mindanao.
Aside from Sabal, six others were arrested at the Batangas Port parking lot.
Confiscated from their two vehicles were assorted firearms, ammunition, and suspected shabu amounting to P2.7 million.
Eleazar said Sabal was assigned to the Special Action Force (SAF) 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
“ 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,” he said.
He added Sabal was also listed under the National Watchlist on Illegal Drugs (NWID).
During his incumbency, Sabal was charged by the Office of the Ombudsman and was eventually suspended for failure to disclose his properties and business interests in his SALN from 2011 to 2015.
Based on PNP intelligence reports, Eleazar said Sabal was among those involved in the Davao City bombing that happened last September 2016.
Elezar said the 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.
The PNP chief assured that the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) will conduct a motu-proprio investigation as Sabal died while under police custody.
“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,” Eleazar said. Ella Dionisio/DMS