North Cotabato mayor nabbed for guns

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COTABATO CITY: A day after the killing of Maguindanao Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom in Makilala, North Cotabato on Friday, the mayor of Libungan town was arrested in anti-drug operations with a cache of firearms and ammunition before dawn on Saturday.

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Mayor Christopher Amping Cuan of Libungan, also of North Cotabato, was arrested on the strength of search warrants issued by Judge Alandrex Betoya of Regional Trial Court Branch 16 for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., Police Region-12 spokesman said the raiding team recovered from one of Cuan’s houses an M-16 Armalite rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, two caliber 45 pistols (Para 1911 and Colt), caliber 5.56 bushmaster and hundreds of ammunition and magazines for various calibers.

Galgo said members of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force, Regional Public Safety Battalion and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency served 20 search warrants at 3 a.m. on Saturday in three of Cuan’s houses in Barangay Kabayuran.

Unlike Dimaukom, Cuan was not among the politicians named by President Duterte in his August announcement of the names of so-called narco-politicians.

According to the Police Region-12 spokesman, Cuan will be committed to the RTC Branch 16 that issued the search warrants.

On Friday, Mayor Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao and nine of his companions were killed in the 4:10 a.m. anti-drug operation at Barangay Old Bulatukan in Makilala.

The group was on board two vehicles and a police car escort when flagged down at a checkpoint by Region 12 anti-illegal drugs group police team. But instead of stopping, the suspects allegedly opened fire at the lawmen, triggering a firefight.

Police have received information that Dimaukom’s group was going to transport huge stocks of drugs from Davao to Maguindanao and Cotabato City but only 13 sachets of shabu were found.

Dimaukom and his wife, Bai Anida “Nhedz” Dimaukom were earlier tagged by the president as among the country’s narco-politicians; no charges have been filed against them.

The Dimaukoms, however, have denied the allegations against them. One of their houses in Datu Saudi Ampatuan was subsequently searched but law enforcers found no evidence of illegal drugs.

A source close to the Dimukoms told The Manila Times that the widow, also the vice mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, who is still in mourning, refused to issue any statement on the mayor’s killing.
All slain suspects were buried on Friday in accordance with Muslim tradition.

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