A former mayor who was arrested for drug trafficking and arms trafficking in the Philippines was gunned down by police on Thursday.
The former mayor was shot dead after grabbing the pistol of one of the officers escorting him to a detention center, police said.
The suspect, Montasser Sabal, was being transported to the National Police Headquarters in Manila when he was shot inside the police vehicle, said Albert Ignatius Ferro, head of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division.
“The suspect seized the firearm of his police escort while in the vehicle, which resulted in a scuffle in which he was able to shoot the officer next to him,” said Ferro.
Other police in the vehicle shot Sabal and injured him, he added.
Sabal, a former mayor of the southern province of Maguindanao, was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, Ferro said.
The suspect was arrested Wednesday evening at the port of Batangas province, 95 km south of Manila.
His three companions were also taken into custody, according to a police report.
Police seized various guns and packages containing suspected methampetamine from his vehicle.
National Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar said Sabal faces illegal drug charges and allegations that he was supplying guns and explosives to a group of Muslim separatist rebels in Maguindanao.
“Sabal’s neutralization is a blow to BIFF’s firearms and explosive materials supply chain,” he said, referring to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group of activists who have been blamed for various attacks and bombings. (dpa / NAN)