COTABATO CITY — Four alleged motorcycle thieves were killed in a shootout with cops in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, on Saturday night.
In a report, Brig. Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco, chief of the Police Regional Office 12, identified the slain suspects as Gabriel Bothi Maulana, 31; and Tongs Kamidon, both of Banga, South Cotabato; and Kadil Tambeg and Kamad Pidiwata, both of Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat.
Rasco said the shootout occurred around 9 p.m. in Purok Mabuhay, Barangay Laguinding, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, after the suspects, onboard two motorbikes, broke through a police checkpoint despite being flagged down.
“The suspects fired at the policemen, which prompted them to fire back,” said the police official, adding that additional checkpoints were set up along strategic sections of Esperanza due to the reported increase in motorcycle theft and hold-up incidents the past several weeks.
Three of the suspects -Kamidon, Tambeg, and Pidiwata– were killed on the spot, while Maulana died later in the hospital where he was rushed following the shootout.
Recovered from the slain suspects were two .45-caliber pistols with ammunition, a hand grenade, six sachets of shabu, mobile phones, sling bags, and two motorbikes believed to have been stolen.
Rasco said a deeper investigation is underway to determine the possible connection of the suspects with a carnapping syndicate operating in the area. Noel Punzalan / PNA – northboundasia.com