COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 29 October) — An anti-illegal drugs team raided the house, warehouse and gasoline station here of Mayor Christopher “Amping” Cuan early Saturday morning, found no illegal drugs or explosives but firearms and ammunition and arrested the mayor who later posted bail.
The raid and arrest of Cuan came a day after Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town and nine of his escorts were killed along the highway in Makilala, North Cotabato in what police claimed as “legitimate anti-drug operation but the subjects opened fire on our troops.” Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., OMI, former president of the Notre Dame University has urged an investigation as there are reports its was a “rubout” as most of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head.
Operatives of the General Santos City-based Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (RAIDSOTG) led by Police Supt. Maximo Sebastian served 20 search warrants on Cuan for “drugs, firearms and explosives.”
Specifically, these were for alleged violation of RA 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act) particularly Article II, Sections 6 (maintenance of a den, dive or resort where any dangerous drug is used or sold in any form), 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) and 12 (possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs); RA 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) and RA 9516 (amending the provisions of PD 1866, as amended, entitled codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives)
Sebastian told MindaNews charges of violating RA 10591 were filed against Cuan who “was detained but posted bail” fixed at P80,000.
An entry in the police blotter of the municipal police station here showed that at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, operatives of the RAIDSOTG “coordinated with this station” to serve the search warrant at the residence of Libungan Mayor Christopher Cuan in Barangay Cabaruyan and his warehouse and gasoline station in Barangay Poblacion.
At 2:25 a.m., according to the blotter, a team from the police station proceeded to the areas cited to serve as augmentation force.
Entry 2072 of the police blotter at 7:47 a.m. noted that the service of the warrant (the blotter referred to is in the singular), “resulted to the the seizure of firearms and ammunitions” but did not say what kind and how many firearms and ammunition were taken.
“Said operation ended at around 0600 H of same date and Hon. Mayor Christopher Cuan was placed under arrest and custody of aforesaid raiding team and brought to Cotabato Police Provincial Office (CPPO), Amas, Kidapawan City for proper disposition,” the blotter entry read.
Dimaukom was the first of five Maguindanao mayors on the list of Duterte who presented himself to the office of Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, provincial police chief at around 9:30 a.m. on August 7, some seven hours after the President read the list of 163 personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Accompanied by his wife Anida, the town’s vice mayor who was also on Duterte’s list, Dimaukom told Muksan they were innocent and were willing to face investigation.
“We are most willing to clear our names, follow the process and let the truth come out at the soonest possible time, we are most willing to cooperate with the President on this issue” Mayor Dimaukom told MindaNews then. The mayors went to PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa the next day.
Cuan’s name was not on the list read by Duterte on August 7. The President, however, has been showing to the public during some speaking engagements a thick sheaf of paper the he says contains the list of persons involved in the illegal drugs trade, including government officials. He has not made public the name listed there. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)