Gantuangco gets backing on payoff to extortion group

Members of the CPOC, in a special meeting Monday, said that the city government of Kidapawan was the only local government unit that worked closely with authorities so that those behind the KMCC Mall bombing last November would be arrested.

Sr. Supt. Marcelo Pintac, provincial head of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said they were very happy with Gantuangco’s support to prosecute the suspects and that “the payoff was necessary” so that arrest warrants can be secured.

The payoff reportedly led to one of the suspects, a certain Nacir Abison, because the payoff money was deposited in his account.

The identification of one of the suspects, however, went to naught because a local radio station broadcast contents of the mayor’s affidavit a day before the warrant against Abison was issued by the courts, said Chief Insp. Leo Ajero, city police director.

"All our efforts for several months went to naught because of the premature broadcast made, which mentioned the name of the suspect,” he lamented.

The radio broadcast also earned the ire of the CPOC, which passed a resolution condemning the radio station’s move. The council urged the local media to be more responsible and prudent in broadcasting sensitive information.

Gantuangco earlier admitted paying P100,000 to Al-Khobar, a gang of Moro gunmen involved in extortion and bombings in the region. But the mayor defended the move, saying the payoff was intended to establish identities of behind the extortions and the bombings.

The mayor’s affidavit was used by the police in filing charges against Abison and his companions.
City prosecutor Al Calica affirmed the mayor’s move, saying he has personal knowledge of the payoff, and that it was necessary to prosecute the extortionists.

Calica revealed that two separate cases were filed against Abison — extortion activities and murder and multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder because of his alleged involvement in the bombing last November, which left one person dead and several others injured.

"We included the name of Abison in the murder case because it is a non-bailable crime as compared to extortion," he explained. (MindaNews)