NBI agents in Sarangani sued for death of detainee

By | March 5, 2013

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 March) — Police have filed murder charges against several agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) assigned in this city over the mysterious disappearance and eventual death of an alleged murder suspect while in their custody nearly three years ago.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima said the results of their investigation showed that some agents assigned with the NBI-Sarangani District Office (Sardo) were allegedly involved in the death of suspect Sumar Abdulwahab, who was last seen alive in their custody on June 3, 2010.

NBI-Sardo initially declared that Abdulwahab, who was a resident of Sitio Manil in Barangay Daliao of Maasim town in Sarangani, had managed to escape from its detention facility in Barangay Lagao here.

But his decomposing body was found dumped near a cliff in Malalag town in Davao del Sur on June 8, 2010, with his hands tied on his back and showing visible signs of torture.

“Despite the claims by the arresting agents of NBI-Sardo that Abdulwahab had escaped from their custody, a case of murder was filed against them,” Purisima noted in a case update he sent recently to the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The AHRC’s Urgent Appeals Programme released details of the PNP Chief’s updates on the case in an emailed document dated March 1.

Case records showed that Abdulwahab was arrested by NBI-Sardo agents on June 3, 2010 in Sitio Manil of Barangay Daliao in Maasim, Sarangani Province due to a count of murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder supposedly filed against him.

The following day, the victim’s sister Johaniya followed up her brother’s case at the NBI-Sardo in Barangay Lagao here but was allegedly told that she could only see Abdulwahab the next day.

Johaniya returned the next day but was told by NBI personnel that Abdulwahab had escaped the night before by supposedly breaking the glass window of the detention facility.

But on June 8 or five days after the arrest, a dead body was recovered somewhere in Malalag, Davao del Sur that was later confirmed as Abdulwahab’s.

Purisima said the murder complaint against the NBI agents was filed before the General Santos City Prosecutor’s Office docketed under NPS XII-03-INV-10J-00593.

 

He said records of the case showed that it was “still pending for preliminary investigation at the prosecutor’s office.”

 

But he said the murder case against the NBI agents was strengthened by the testimony of a key witness, whom he described as a former confidential agent of NBI-Sardo.

 

“(The witness) came forward on November 5, 2012, and gave his statement to the police regarding his knowledge about the killing. He said that the arrest of Abdulwahab was a case of mistaken identity after the NBI agents mistook him for Aman Kabalo, the real murder suspect,” Purisima said.

“The police (investigators) believed the mistake could have prompted the NBI agents to kill Abdulwahab. (The witness) gave police (investigators) the identities of the agents involved in the murder,” he added.

The police official cited that based on the testimony of the witness, the PNP submitted “additional evidence to the prosecutor’s office and recommended the inclusion of new identified suspects.”

In a statement, the AHRC welcomed the release of the PNP’s investigation report that “confirmed our earlier suspicions that the victim did not escape and the cause of his death is now clear.”

The group, which has been closely monitoring the case’s developments, urged the PNP to ensure the safety of the key witness. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)