MANILA, Philippines — Former Talitay, Maguindanao mayor, Montasser Sabal, was killed during the operation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday after allegedly grabbing the service firearm of a police escort during his transport to Camp Crame in Quezon City.
PNP Chief P.Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Sabal is one of the high-value targets.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested Sabal on Wednesday (June 16) at the Batangas Port in Batangas City.
The PNP said he was wanted for drug and illegal possession of firearms charges. Eleazar also said that Sabal is included in the ‘narcolist’.
“Isa siya sa kino-consider natin na high value target (We consider him a high-value target) considering he was a former police officer, recruited and trained by special action force on explosive ordnance disposal and sniper course,” he said.
During Sabal’s arrest, authorities recovered six high-caliber firearms, 400 grams of suspected illegal drugs, and P200,000 cash.
Authorities were escorting Sabal towards the National Capital Region Field Unit of the CIDG at Camp Crame when he grabbed his police escort’s firearm while onboard the vehicle which resulted in a scuffle.
Sabal was able to shoot the police officer beside him which prompted the accompanying police officer to use reasonable force.
“Sabal tried to escape by grabbing the firearm of his police escort the scuffle between the suspect and the police escort resulted in the latter to hit and fatally wounded Sabal, the suspect was rushed at San Juan Medical Center but declared dead at around 6:13 in the morning,” Eleazar said.
The PNP Chief also added that the confiscated firearms from Sabal might probably be used during the 2022 national elections.
“Another possible attempt by a partisan armed group to beef up armaments as they prepared for the coming 2022 election,” according to Eleazar.
Sabal 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.
Meanwhile, Sabal’s cohorts will undergo an investigation to determine appropriate cases to be filed against them.