A Maguindanao town mayor, who was included in President Duterte’s list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drug trade, was shot dead Monday night by a lone gunman in front of a hotel in Malate, Manila.
Police said Talitay Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal was alighting from his vehicle at the parking area of the Mannra Hotel on Quirino Avenue corner Leveriza Street at about 10 p.m. when he was shot by the armed man.
Sabal’s companions, his wife Mohana Sabal, and his bodyguard – Police Cpl. Alwad Guimad, managed to flee unscathed.
A closed circuit television (CCTV) footage provided by the hotel showed that the gunman positioned near a Toyota Innova across the street.
Witnesses said they heard at least four gunshots in the area. A security guard of the said hotel said one of the glass entrance doors was shattered after being hit by a bullet.
Sabal, though wounded, managed to run towards the hotel but collapsed at the entrance, the security guard added.
Capt. Henry Navarro, chief of Manila Police District (MPD) homicide division, said the victim died on the spot from at least four gunshot wounds.
Navarro said Sabal was in Manila for a convention of local chief executives in Pasay City. He only stayed at the Mannra Hotel on Sunday night.
The security guard said the mayor was about to pick up his baggage at the hotel when he was killed.
It can be recalled that in 2016, Sabal was arrested after he was included in President Duterte’s list of alleged narco-politicians.
In the same year, the mayor was also probed for the bombing incident at a night market in Davao City.
Police said they are still conducting investigation to identity of the gunman and the motive behind the killing.
A spent shell of a 5.56 mm ammunition was recovered from the crime scene.
The recovered pieces of evidence were brought to the MPD-Scene of the Crime Operatives office for ballistic examination.
Navarro said the MPD will convene a task force for further investigation of the incident.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is ready to join the investigation into the killing of Sabal in the event the Philippine National Police (PNP) needs help in conducting the probe.
“For now we’ll let the PNP take the lead in the investigation of Mayor Sabal’s murder case but I’ll direct the NBI to step in when it becomes necessary,” Guevarra told reporters. (Minka Tiangco and Jeffrey Damicog)