THREE armed crime suspects in Socksargen region were killed in separate gunbattles with the police in South Cotabato province over the weekend, Police Regional Office 12 director Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus said yesterday.
“Again, I am warning lawless elements in Region 12 that our men are always ready to defend themselves in case you offer armed resistance. Please do not exacerbate the situation if the lawful authorities hold you, try not to escape and fight back for it is our duty also to protect ourselves to protect more people and the community,” said Corpus.
One of the suspects, Aman Ben Abdulmajid Goling, an employee of the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources wanted for his involvement in illegal drug trafficking in the province, was killed in a shootout with undercover officers in Tantangan, South Cotabato at 7:30 p.m. last Wednesday, the official said.
According to Corpus, agents from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office and the Koronadal City Police Station Drug Enforcement Units conducted a joint operation to neutralize the “high-value target” on the national highway in Bgy. San Felipe, Tantangan municipality.
During the sting, the suspect, a resident of Blk. 4, Lot 45, Phase 2, San Antonio Village, Bgy. Sta. Cruz who uses the alias “Salman,” sensed he was dealing with a cop and pulled out a gun before boarding a SUV and fleeing towards Bgy. Morales.
Officers gave chase and cornered the suspect in front of the Socoteco office located on the national highway in Purok Spring 1.
Police tried to convince the suspect to yield peacefully but failed.
The PRO12 director said that officers were forced to retaliate when the suspect started shooting at them.
The “HVT” was hit and died while being taken to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital.
Recovered at the clash site were five heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, a marked bill paid to the suspect by the agent, a caliber .38 revolver with two live ammunition and several spent shells, a holster and a black Toyota Fortuner whose record is being checked by the police with the Land Transportation Office and the Highway Patrol Group.
Corpus said that the two other suspects were killed in a shootout with police and military troops who went after them following reports they stole a motorcycle in Tupi, Koronadal City.
Members of the Koronadal City Police Station, the 1st South Cotabato Provincial Mobile Force Company, South Cotabato HPG, Tupi Municipal Police Station, South Cotabato PPO’s DEU and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion pursued the suspects who stole a motorcycle in Purok 4, Bgy. Poblacion in Tupi.
Corpus said that the suspects later engaged officers in a shootout in Purok Mabuhay in Bgy. Avanceña, Koronadal City.
The slain suspects yielded a cal. 38 revolver with three live ammunition and a spent casing and a chamber-loaded pistol.
Also recovered at the crime scene was the stolen motorcycle of Rhea Lorraine Tecson.