Ex-cop, 2 cohorts killed in S. Cotabato drug sting

A BUY-BUST operation in front of a public cemetery in Polomolok, South Cotabato last Wednesday ended up in a shootout which resulted in the killing of three suspects led by a policeman dismissed for his drug links, Police Regional Office 12 director, Brigadier General Alfred S. Corpus announced yesterday.

The official identified the slain suspects as ex-policeman Joel Labuen, a 38-year-old resident of Purok Malabarbas, Poblacion, Polomolok and his companions Gary Montero,37, a resident of Azucena Street in the same area and an alias ‘Kokoy.’

Labuen was a former member of the Polomolok Municipal Police Station who was dismissed from the service for his confirmed involvement in illegal drug activities. Corpus said that the suspect’s name is included in the Inter-Agency Drug Information Database of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

According to Corpus, combined operatives of the Polomolok Municipal Police Station and the PRO12 Regional Drug Enforcement Unit, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, conducted the sting along the farm road in front of the DARBC Cemetery in Barangay Cannery Site in Polomolok at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Officers involved in the entrapment operation said that Labuen had just sold a packet of shabu to the poseur when he apparently sensed the ongoing sting, pulled out a concealed firearm and tried to shoot the undercover officer but missed.

Corpus said that Labuen and Montero were killed during the exchange of gunfire while the 3rd suspect who tried to escape on board a motorcycle was cornered inside the nearby Perlan Compound where he was eventually killed in an ensuing firefight.

Recovered during the operation were seven heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, a marked P500 bill, a chamber-loaded caliber .45 pistol with a magazine containing six live ammunition, a home-made cal. .38 revolver with two spent casings and a live ammunition and a 9mm pistol with three bullets.