By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Elements of the regional police unit of the Philippine National Police in Soccsksargen (PNP-12) raided the house of a village chair in Magpet, North Cotabato who was accused of keeping unlicensed guns and explosives, around 3 a.m., Friday, reports said.
A member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) identified as Elias Manumba was killed during the search when he tried to engage the raiding team in a shootout, reports from the Magpet PNP said.
CAFGU member Manumba was the nephew of Barangay Tagbak chairman Elmar Manumba who was the subject of the search operation conducted early Friday by the PNP-12, together with operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) North Cotabato Field Investigating Unit, Regional Drug Enforcement Unit of PNP-12, and Regional Police Mobile Force.
Senior Insp. Jose Mari Molina, chief of Magpet PNP, said the team confiscated from the house of Manumba two shotguns, three caliber 45 pistols, and a fragmentation hand grenade.
Based on the warrant issued by a local court here said Manumba was believed keeping in his possession explosives and firearms.
Manumba, however, cried foul and blamed the raiding team of “planting” evidence against him.
“I know they deliberately placed the hand grenade inside my house so they would have all the reasons to put me behind bars,” Manumba said.
He even accused policemen of “pocketing” the cash he placed inside his sling bag, which was also taken as evidence by the team.
“Why would they get my cash? That’s mine. It wasn’t even used in any illegal activity. It’s clean money. This is really sad and I myself witnessed how abusive our policemen were,” Manumba added,
The firearms that were recovered inside his house, the chairman explained, were used as their “protection” against the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels as his village was among those areas heavily “infiltrated” by such threat group.
Mastermind in chairman’s gun attack?
Reports said Manumba was accused of “masterminding” the gun attack against another village chair identified as Ferdinand Cariaga of Barangay Sallab, also in Magpet, in July 10.
Cariaga was seriously wounded when still unidentified gunman shot him twice in his neck while on his way to Poblacion, Magpet.
Reports said Cariaga was being tossed up by his peers to be the next president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) in Magpet. Manumba was currently the ABC president.
Manumba, however, said he was willing to give up his post.
“In fact, I was telling my co-chair to vote for Cariaga because I am no longer interested in that position,” he stressed.
Cariaga, however, failed during the ABC election. Instead of him, the barangay chairman from Del Pilar, Magpet won the election and would not sit as ex-officio SB member next week, reports said