DAVAO CITY – A police officer serving a warrant of arrest, and at least 12 suspects, who were subject of the police operation, were killed in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, on Saturday, January 23.
Based on a report from the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), a joint operation to serve warrants of arrest and a search warrants against the group of a former barangay chairman in Barangay Limbo in Sultan Kudarat, Datu Pendatun Kato Talusan was carried out around 4:00 am Saturday.
The warrants were for several charges, including double frustrated robbery with homicide, and carnapping.
The police said upon their arrival to serve the warrants, the suspects opened fire at the government authorities, triggering a gun battle that lasted for five hours.
P/Staff Sergeant Elenel Pido of the Fourth Special Action Battalion (4th SAB) was killed in the exchange of gunfire, while two of his colleagues were wounded.
Former Barangay Limbo Chairperson Datu Pendatun Kato Talusan was slain in the shootout, together with Datu Abdullah Kato Tulasa, and Datu Bembi Talusan.
Police said nine other unidentified suspects were also killed.
The police report added that the “group (was) also engaged in illegal drug (trade), carnapping, robbery and extortion in their AOR (area of responsibility).”
Based on the report, warrants for double murder, robbery with homicide, and carnapping were issued by an executive judge of the 12th Judicial Region in Cotabato City.
Police also said a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, was issued by a Regional Trial Court judge in Isulan town.
The police also seized several firearms after the encounter.
The police said Pendatun Talusan was the leader of the Talusan Group, while Abdullah Talusan was its “sub-leader.”
“This notorious group was involved in the series of shooting incidents in Sultan kudarat and Cotabato City involving PNP and AFP personnel. This group also engaged in illegal drug (trade), carnapping, robbery and extortion in their AOR (area of responsibility),” the report said.