THE police are now hunting down Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan town in Maguindanao after lawmen who were dispatched to serve a warrant were met with gunfire from his supposed supporters in Barangay Salam, also in Ampatuan town.
Sangki was one of the five Maguindanao mayors whom President Rodrigo Duterte claimed was involved in narcotics trafficking last August.
Sangki later surrendered to Maguindanao provincial police director Supt. Nikson Muksan and then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director Chief Supt. Agripino Javier, but was later released without charges purportedly because there was no evidence against the mayor.
But the new regional police director Chief Supt. Reuben Sindac said the court has since issued a search warrant against Sangki and the police tried to serve the process Thursday morning at Barangay Talisawa but they were fired upon by Sangki’s supporters.
On Thursday afternoon, policemen interdicted two of Sanki’s supporters—Mudjahid Bailan of Cotabato City and Abdulrahim Ampatuan of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao —at a checkpoint set up by the Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur police.
The police seized two caliber .45 pistols, 16 ammunitions and 10 magazine from Bailan and Ampatuan.
Sindac said police operatives reported that there were about 30 fully-armed members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the vicinity of Barangay Tuayan in Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao under a leader identified as Samar or Samad Simpal.
The police said residents informed them that the 30-strong group was planning to reinforce Sangki but they could not pass through the security dragnet in the area.
When he first went to the police August last year, Sindac said Sangki wanted to clear his name of accusations that he was involved in illegal drugs.