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Barangay chairman, 2 cohorts in deadly Basilan ambush surrender

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — A barangay chairman and his two accomplices in the gun attack on Monday night in Lamitan City, Basilan that left two elders of a rival who contested his reelection bid dead surrendered to authorities Wednesday.

Abdullah Panglias, who lost in his reelection bid for the chairmanship of Barangay Balagtasan in Lamitan City, and his followers, Abzhar Panglias and a volunteer community watchman named Jhulbin Suntul, are now clamped down in a police detention facility.

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, told reporters here on Wednesday that Panglias and his companions voluntarily surrendered to Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon, commander of the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade and Lamitan City’s police chief, Lt. Col. Arlan L. Delumpines.

The three suspects first turned in assorted firearms and ammunition as they arrived at the headquarters of the 101st Infantry Brigade in Isabela City and, subsequently, confessed to their role in the ambush late Monday of Unnang Alahas and Sagon Jailun in Barangay Balagtasan while the duo was on their way home from a polling site in a nearby area.

The slain Alahas and Jailun were both uncles of Arjun Jailun, a rival of the reelectionist Panglias in last Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. They were both defeated by a newcomer, a lowly tricycle driver, according to officials of the multi-sector Lamitan City Peace and Order Council and officials of the local police.

Nobleza said the three suspects yielded peacefully through the intercession of Luzon, Delumpines, local executives in Lamitan City led by Mayor Roderick Furigay and Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman and senior officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the province.

Nobleza said Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman was also partly instrumental in their surrender.

Luzon told reporters here via Facebook Messenger that they immediately turned over Panglias and his two companions to the Lamitan City police for detention.