KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 12 July) – Five suspected drug pushers were killed in a running gun battle with authorities in a remote village in Kabacan, North Cotabato early morning Wednesday, police said.
Chief Insp. Bryan Placer, chief of Kabacan Police, said the suspects first fired the shots towards government troops after seeing them arrive at the area around 5 a.m.
The suspects, according to Placer, never expected that soldiers had already been dispatched earlier.
“So when the suspects fired their shots towards us, the soldiers came to our rescue and returned fire. It led these men to flee the area and resulted to a running gun battle,” Placer explained.
The slain suspects were identified as Valencia Madaliday Guiabalael, 42, of Barangay Lumayong; Ali Araneta Salim, 28, of Shariff Kabunsuwan Street, Cotabato City; Gardo Kalmo Tapa, 25, of Midsayap, North Cotabato; Korin Udtig Acoy, 35; and Abdul Udtig Acoy, 32, of Plang Village II, Poblacion of Kabacan, North Cotabato.
As early as 3 a.m. Wednesday, operatives were dispatched at sitios Lumayong and Sugod in Barangay Kayaga in Kabacan. They brought with them 15 search warrants issued by Judge Alandrex Betoya of the Regional Trial Court Branch 16 based in Kabacan.
They were about to search the area when they were fired at by the suspects.
This, however, did not stop government forces to continue with their operation, according to Placer.
After the exchange of fires that lasted for an hour, Placer said they saw five bodies sprawling with blood. All sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies, he added.
Also during the operation, the Police and the Army apprehended four suspected drug pushers identified as Ismael Musa Abdul, Mamadatu Musa Abdul, Solaw Sowa Talidtig, and Norudin Musa Abdul, all residents of Barangay Kayaga, Kabacan.
They recovered from the suspects at least 50 grams of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or more commonly known as shabu estimated at P300,000; two caliber .45 pistols, a caliber .38 revolver, and two fragmentation grenades.
Placer said the Kabacan municipal police station led the anti-illegal drug operation dubbed “Oplan Double Barrel” and was backed up by members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Cotabato Police Provincial Office, and elements of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)