Maguindanao mayor survives ambush; 3 aide injured, one dead

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 4, 2021   •   877

South Upi, Maguindanao Mayor Reynalbert Insular has survived a bomb attack on Sunday, the police authorities reported on Monday (January 4).

The mayor was unhurt although one of his security escorts died on the spot, while three relief workers were injured. Authorities said pursuit operations are ongoing against the suspects.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the official and his companions were on their way back to the city hall after coming from a relief operation when they were ambushed by armed men in Barangay Pandan.

Insular had also survived two previous ambushes: one in July 2016 and the other in June 2020.

Authorities said the armed men are also the suspects in the torching of several houses in Barangay Itaw. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

4 alleged BIFF members surrender in Maguindanao — WestMinCom

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

Four alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to authorities in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said Wednesday.

In a statement, WestMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the relentless focused military operations in central Mindanao have led to the starvation of some terrorists and prompted them to surrender.

Vinluan said the four members of the BIFF-Bungos Faction submitted themselves to the troops of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (1Mech Bn) at about 11 a.m. on July 27.

“They handed over their firearm including one US cal. 50HB machine gun, one R4A3 Carbine with M203 grenade launcher, one cal. 30 Carbine, and one 7.62mm sniper rifle,” said 1Mech Bn Commander Lt. Col. Cresencio Sanchez, Jr.

Subject personalities were subsequently presented to Col. Pedro Balisi, Jr., Commander of 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (1Mech Bde), and Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan at the unit headquarters in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

The four are currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the 1Mech Bde headquarters, the WestMinCom said.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of Joint Task Force Central urged the remaining BIFF members to yield and avail of the government’s reintegration programs.

“Now is the best time for you to surrender,” Uy said.

Since January 2021, the AFP said that the JTF Central neutralized a total of 145 BIFF personalities; 69 of which were killed, 74 surrendered, and two were apprehended.

“The offensives of the Joint Task Force Central will continue despite the mounting number of BIFF members who are now deciding to return to the folds of the law,” Vinluan said.

“Rest assured that all our operations adhere to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws,” he added.

Former Maguindanao mayor on ‘narcolist’ killed after grabbing police escort’s gun

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2021

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.

Ex-Congressman Andaya survives ambush try in Camarines Sur

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Unidentified gunmen attacked former Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr. while on board his vehicle in Pili town on Tuesday, local police said.

In a statement, the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) said the incident occurred around 5:45 a.m. along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Palestina.

Initial investigation showed the suspects on board a motorcycle shot at Andaya’s vehicle before fleeing the scene. Two fired cartridges of caliber .45 were recovered from the area.

The former lawmaker was unhurt in the incident, police said.

PRO5 chief Police Brigadier General Jonnel Estomo said he has ordered an investigation into the shooting incident.

A special provincial investigation team was also created to help identify the suspects.

Estomo said additional police units were deployed in the area to monitor and prevent similar incidents.

“Tayo po ang nagdeploy na ng karagdagan pulis sa lugar upang alisin ang pangamba sa ating mga kababayan na naroon,” Estomo said.

“Makakaasa po kayo na kami ay makikipagtulungan sa mga witnesses at mga local government official ng Camarines Sur upang mapabilis na pagtukoy at pagresolba sa insidenteng ito,” he added.

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