As Oplan Tokhang intensifies, 2 men bite the dust in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) – Two men were killed in a separate shooting incidents here Wednesday night and Thursday morning in what police believed were related to illegal drugs and criminal syndicate activities of notorious thieves.

At 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle shot dead Hayman Mangelen Salendab along LR Sebastian.

Police said it appeared the gunmen and the victim knew each other since the victim, who was driving a van, was flagged down by the suspects and had a brief talk before guns rang out.

Chief Insp. Carlo Juninario, chief of station 2 of city police, said one of the angles they are eyeing is Salendab’s possible involvement in illegal drug activities. Investigation is underway, he added.

A total of 732 individuals allegedly engaged in drug abuse and trading have so far yielded to the call of local police to surrender in light with the police’s Oplan Tokhang (short for “toktok hangyo” or knock and plead) campaign.

This morning, a man named Moner Upi, alyas “Jumong,” was shot dead around 10 a.m. by a still unidentified suspect in front of his horrified wife along a busy Datu Piang Street.

Akrima, the victim’s wife, said they were to go out of their home to eat when they noticed two men waiting for his husband along a narrow passageway.

It was too late for them to back out as one of the two suspects immediately pulled his caliber .45 pistol and opened fire on Upi. He sustained six gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

Senior Insp. Lorenzo Henares, station commander of police precinct 1, said the victim was in their rogue list as one of the “notorious” personality behind “bukas-kotse” activities in the city.

Police said Upi was tagged as among the suspects who robbed the licensed caliber .45 pistol and money left inside the van of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Representative Raymond Mendoza in 2014. The latter’s vehicle was parked along Salipada K. Pendatun street during his visit in the city while eating lunch inside South Seas mall.

The robbing incident was caught on CCTV, police said.