Moro advocacy group asserts NoCot gunfight a rubout, not raid

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/06:35:02am 01/06/2022


Police operatives position themselves during a raid on an alleged hideout of a syndicate engaged in motorcycle theft that resulted to the killing of five persons in Barangay Gukotan, Pikit, North Cotabato, on Dec. 29, 2021. A Moro group, however, believes the raid was actually a rub-out. (Photo courtesy of the 6th Infantry Division)

By Jigger Jerusalem
Associate Editor

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The raid on a warehouse reportedly being used as a hideout by an alleged criminal syndicate involved in motorcycle thefts that left five persons dead and five others wounded in Barangay Gukotan, Pikit town, North Cotabato on Dec. 29, 2021 was a “rubout,” said a leader of a Moro advocacy group Tuesday, Jan. 4.

A rubout is defined as a summary execution where suspects are killed by arresting authorities.

According to news articles, teams of police officers and government soldiers went to a compound to verify reports of stolen vehicles kept in the area believed to be run by a syndicate when they were fired upon leading to an hour-long armed encounter.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division, in a Facebook post, said the raiding teams were supposed to serve a warrant of arrest against Joel Manarapan, also known as Maula Manampan Ayunan, when the firefight happened.

Lt. Col. Rommel Mundala, commanding officer of the 90th Infantry Battalion, said, “the suspects fired at the government troops, prompting the security forces to retaliate which resulted in an exchange of gunfire.”

The Army report did not specify the case filed against Manarapan, but the police said he is the alleged leader of the group that was involved vehicle thefts.

The suspect is said to have maintained a warehouse, where hundreds of motorcycles were kept.

Police said Manarapan has escaped during the raid.

Found at the scene of the encounter were various firearms and ammunition.

But Drieza Lininding, chair of the Moro Consensus Group, said that based on testimonies from residents who witnessed the raid, said that the motorcycles were actually loan collaterals and that these have the proper documents.

“These papers show that [the motorcycles] have permits and that they [owners] have been paying the right taxes,” Lininding said in a statement Tuesday.

A Phil. News Agency report said a resident, who asked not to be named, told reporters that the compound which has a tennis court and a basketball court was owned by a legitimate pawn shop businessperson.

The motorcycles, including firearms, were pawned to the shop, the resident said, explaining why there was a huge number of motorcycles and vehicles in the area.

Lininding said the Moro Consensus Group has condemned the law enforcement operation as they are appealing to the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the incident.

“We hope that this will not become the normal procedure of our authorities,” Lininding said.

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