Sultan Kudarat

‘Nanlaban’? Cop who loses son in Sultan Kudarat ‘shootout’ cries foul

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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‘Nanlaban’? Cop who loses son in Sultan Kudarat ‘shootout’ cries foul

SHOOTOUT? Profile photos of Horton Ansa Jr., Arshad Ansa, and Samanudin Ali, young men killed during what the police say was a shootout in Sultan Kudarat province on December 2. The fatalities' families and friends are not buying the police's narrative.

'We are policemen, and we have to protect civilians from harm, and not kill them. In this case, they wasted young souls who had dreams,' says Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr., father of one of the fatalities

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A police patrolman cried foul and pleaded for a thorough investigation into the killing of his son and two other young men in what his colleagues said was a shootout in Sultan Kudarat province.

The Lambayong town police alleged that the young men – Horton Ansa Jr., Arshad Ansa, and Samanoden Ali – were armed and traded shots with authorities who tried to arrest them at a checkpoint in Sultan Kudarat on Friday, December 2.

The young men allegedly had shabu (meth) with them.

The young men’s families and friends said the fatalities had clean records and were not known to be violent or into drugs.

Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr. of the Shariff Saydona Mustapha town police in Maguindanao del Sur doubted his Sultan Kudarat counterparts’ claims about his son and namesake and the other fatalities.

He said that his 20-year-old son Horton Jr. was a first-year criminology student who had dreamed of becoming a law enforcer like him and his grandfather.

Ansa said trading shots with authorities was something unthinkable given that Horton Jr. had yet to receive training on how to handle guns.

“He can’t do that. He doesn’t even know how to fire a gun yet because I didn’t allow them (his children) to hold guns, much more illegal drugs. Our neighbors will bear me out,” he said on Sunday, December 4.

Ansa said his eldest son was religious and a muezzin, someone who regularly roused their predominantly Muslim community from sleep and called on people to pray in the mosque.

He questioned the way the Lambayong police handled the case, pointing out that there was even no post-investigation by crime scene investigators.

“We are policemen, and we have to protect civilians from harm, and not kill them. In this case, they wasted young souls who had dreams,” Ansa said.

He said he was appealing to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure that justice would prevail.

Lawyer Ronald Hallid Torres-Dimacisil, who volunteered legal services to the young men’s families, said he has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look into the deaths of the young men.

“I want to correct this. We don’t want this to happen again to other innocent young people,” Ansa said. 

Major Jenahmeel Toñacao, Lambayong town’s police chief, said his subordinates were manning a checkpoint in Purok 4, Barangay Didtaras, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat where they flagged down the three young men past midnight on Friday.

Toñacao said the group sped off instead, prompting the police to chase them, and a shootout subsequently ensued.

He said the young men were rushed to the Evangelista Clinic in Lambayong but were all pronounced dead on arrival.

Toñacao maintained that the police operation was legitimate, adding that those who doubt the police report may file complaints. –

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