COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/06 August) — A town mayor in Maguindanao tagged by police authorities in Sultan Kudarat province as a suspected drug lord has denied the allegations and challenged authorities to show evidence against him.
“I strongly deny this report, so malicious and politically motivated” Mayor Montasir Sabal of Talitay said in an interview with GMA News.
Supt. Joefil Siason, police chief of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat claimed that Sabal’s name was among those cited in the search warrant issued by a local court and implemented by the police on Saturday, July 30, in Barangay Kalawag, Isulan.
Sixteen persons were arrested and P1.3 million worth of shabu and paraphernalia were seized, including an alleged blue book and bank transaction receipts that contained the group’s clients.
Siason said Sabal was in the bungalow that was subjected to police surveillance operations but managed to escape along with its owners.
Police said some of those arrested were relatives of Sabal but the mayor denied this.
“I was not there during the police raid, I was only in that house once or twice last May to attend a wedding of my wife’s relatives,” he said.
“I was there because he was a relative of the couple who was wed,” Sabal added.
Sabal even challenged the police in Sultan Kudarat to show proof and not provide only “raw information.”
“They cannot use raw or intelligence information to pin me down, I was once a policeman,” said Sabal, a former police officer of the Special Action Force (SAF) before becoming a mayor.
He admitted that sometime in 2007 he was into illegal drugs but abandoned it when he joined politics and won.
He also vowed to do away with illegal drugs before the Holy Quran and before officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Sabal is a son of an MILF leader known as “Commander Rambo 5 who is a brigade commander of the 106th base command.
Sabal said he is ready to face Philippine Naitonal Police chief Ronald dela Rosa and the Department of Interior and Local Government for investigation.
“But I am taking my time. Not now,” he said, adding he will “wait what will happen to Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan town who surrendered to police authorities.”
Sabal lamented the police reports “because it has affected my family and my children.” (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)