Maguindanao council bet, Cotabato City village chair arrested

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/12 March) – Police arrested a candidate for councilor of Mamasapano, Maguindanao and his wife following an anti-illegal drugs operation on the suspects’ home Friday night.

A village chair in Cotabato City was also arrested for explosive and gun possession in a separate raid.

The raiding team, composed of Police Special Weapons and Tactics and Cotabato City police, raided the house of Mamasapano council bet Brahim Manalasal and his wife Bainot in Virgo Subdivision, Cotabato City at about 9 p.m. and seized unlicensed high powered firearms that included a Bush master, a Baby M-16 Armalite Rifle, a cal. 45 pistol and 9mm pistol.

Aside from firearms, the raiding team also confiscated six sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Manalasal’s wife Bainot denied they owned the illegal drugs.

Manalasal also claimed the firearms were licensed and that he had obtained a gun ban exemption issued by an Army intelligence unit and duly signed by officers due to threats to their lives. But police questioned Manalasal’s gun ban exemption since it is the Commission on Elections, not an Army intelligence officer that can allow the exemption.

He said an armed group in Mamasapano which he did not name threatens his family.

He said his wife’s brother, a police officer, was killed in what he described as an emerging family feud.

Bainot Manalasal said they need to have guns for self defense as she showed authorities her business permits.

Earlier, the police erred in raiding the house of retired Police Inspector Solomon Ricaforte whose house was beside the residence of Manalasal.

Ricaforte claimed that the police officers barged inside his home and ordered all to drop. “At gunpoint, they ordered me and my family to drop, even my grandchildren were not spared,” he said.

After he introduced himself as a retired police officer, the raiding team apologized and went to Manalasal’s house nearby.

On Friday morning, police and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), together with Army’s 5th Special Forces and Special Action Force of police also raided the house of a village chair and seized two hand grenades and 9mm pistol from him.

Senior Supt. Roberto Badian, acting city police director, identified the village official as Datu Tua Pangilan, chair of Barangay Tamontaka 2, Cotabato City.

But Pangilan denied he owned the gun and described the raid as “politically motivated.”

“The grenades and gun were all planted, you know its election time,” he said.

The suspects are now detained at CIDG office and Cotabato City Police Office. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)