05 January 2010

Mangudadatu bodyguard kills 2 cops in Subic

A bodyguard of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao, went on a shooting rampage at the law-enforcement office here on Monday afternoon, killing two police officers in what authorities here described as “unprovoked firing.”

Mohamedin Panegas Ali, 39, initially sought refuge with the police here, but for unknown reasons opened fire while inside the office of the Officer of the Day (OOD) at Building 657, which houses the Law Enforcement Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA-LED).

“It was indiscriminate shooting,” said retired police general Orlando Maddela, head of the SBMA-LED, whose office is located next door. “It seems like [Ali] was firing at will.”

“We could see no motive for what he did,” Maddela added. “There was no provocation either.”

Maddela said bullets from Ali’s caliber .45 pistol tore through the wooden door of the OOD room and hit two police officers who were then at the hallway.

The victims were OOD Ceferino Abadia and Senior Police Officer 4 Delfin Orines, who was in the building to see Maddela. Both fatalities were hit in the chest.

Abadia was pronounced dead on arrival at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City, while Orines expired about an hour after the shooting.

Maddela said it was not known why Ali snapped, when he was “very cooperative” with the local police at the outset. Maddela even described him as “obedient.”

After the shooting, the suspect kept silent and simply murmured to himself, Maddela said.

“I think he was praying,” he added.

The spot report Maddela submitted to SBMA officials said Ali was reported as missing by his companions, Police Officer 3 Nasser Dilangalen and Faustino Bernil, at about 6:45 a.m. on Monday.

The two, identified as security personnel assigned to Mangudadatu and assigned to the National Police 1207 Police Mobile Group based in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, personally filed the report with the shift sergeant at the SBMA-LED’s communications branch.

The information was relayed to all police units in Subic.

At about 3:17 p.m. that day, the police again received a report about Ali, this time from a company at the Subic Bay Gateway Park, saying that Ali was in their office and seeking assistance “for fear of his life.”

Maddela said that upon arriving at the SBMA-LED office, Ali informed him that he formerly served with the Special Action Force (SAF) unit stationed at Subic’s Naval Magazine area, and asked that he be brought there for his own safety.

Maddela reportedly agreed and called up Supt. Jonas Amparo, the local SAF commander, to have his men fetch Ali from the LED office.

According to SG-II (security guard-II) Rexie Alinea of Subic’s Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) branch, who prepared the evidence custody receipt (ECR) for Ali’s gun, the law enforcers even gave Ali some coffee and bread after learning that he had not yet had his afternoon snack.

It was then, when such arrangements have been made, that Ali apparently snapped at the OOD room.

Alinea said he was busy with the ECR when Ali saw some SAF officers outside the building and asked to get his identification card from his waist bag that was on top of a table.

“Everything happened so fast,” Alinea said in an SBMA media briefing on Tuesday morning. “As soon as he got hold of his bag, out came the gun. Then he quickly cocked it and pointed it at me.”

Another SWAT officer, SG-II Edwin Nopal, who was in the same room reacted quickly when he saw Ali pull his gun out of the bag.

“I immediately embraced him to prevent him from shooting. But he was big, and I couldn’t easily subdue him,” Nopal recounted.

Nopal said that even as he tried to wrestle the gun from Ali, the suspect managed to fire some shots.

“He was even trying to point the gun to my head, but each time he did that, I moved my head closer to his,” said Nopal, who said he was temporarily deafened by the shots.

At one point in the scuffle, the two fell on the floor, said Nopal.

“When I felt that his gun jammed, I shouted for the others to enter the room,” Nopal added.

Maddela said murder charges are now being readied against Ali, who is temporarily detained at Police Station 3 in Olongapo City.

He added that verification of the murder weapon revealed that the caliber .45 pistol used by Ali is duly licensed, with expiry date of February 27, 2011. Ali’s permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) is also valid until August 16.

Meanwhile, SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza clarified that Ali was not under arrest when the incident happened.

He also said the actions by Nopal and Alinea were “in accordance with the procedures.”

“The SBMA stands behind these men,” he added.

At the same time, Arreza lamented the twin killing, calling it “tragic” and “a loss of two dedicated men.”

“This incident is a testament to the hazards that our law-enforcement officers face every day in the performance of their duties,” he added.

Arreza also said the SBMA will provide assistance to the family of Abadia and ordered his subordinates to expedite the release of benefits that are due them.(Henry EmpeƱo, Business Mirror)