COTABATO CITY– Police authorities have beefed up security measures against any possible retaliation from a local armed group, which lost 12 suspected members in a shootout with government authorities in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Saturday, January 23.
Sultan Kudarat Police Chief Maj. Julhamin Asdani said additional personnel from the Police Regional Mobile Force Battalion (PRMFB) have been deployed in strategic points of Sultan Kudarat to avert any attempt to retaliate by remaining members of a criminal syndicated headed by former barangay chairperson Pendatun Talusan, who was among those killed in the encounter with police personnel.
A police team, backed by an armored personnel carrier from the military, tried to serve arrest and search warrants on Talusan and his armed followers early Saturday when they were met with heavy resistance from the group, which was believed to be engaged in gun-for-hire, robbery, and extortion activities, as well as illegal drug trade.
Authorities said the suspects were involved in string of criminal activities including gun-for-hire, robbery, extortion and illegal drugs.
The gun battle lasted for almost six hours, and left Talusan dead, together with his brother Abdulah, incumbent Barangay Limbo chairperson Datu Bembi Talusan, and nine others.
A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) P/Staff Sergeant Elenel Pido was killed in the encounter, while two of his colleagues were wounded.
“The suspects were prepared to engage the raiding lawmen in armed encounter,” Asdani said.
The raiding lawmen seized 12 assorted firearms including M-16 and M-14 rifles and .45 caliber pistols.