Cops thwart Betag hostage attempt

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A near hostage attempt was thwarted by police here.

On Saturday, a call from a distressed woman who complained to police her live in partner was taking her hostage, prompted police to immediately go to the scene.

Valley top cop Bryon Allatog said when the police team went to Betag, there was no hostage taking place but a case of Violence Against Women and their Children.

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The suspect, Samir Tahir Gandawali, who is suspected to be under the influence of drugs, had loaded weapons and was having an argument with his live in partner (the name of the woman has been withheld by police).

Allatog said personnel of La Trinidad police station with the Benguet Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested Gandawali and confiscated drug paraphernalia and weapons.

Taken from Gandawali were a lone Caliber 45, a Colt MK IV, a Magnum 357 as well as a hand grenade while drug paraphernalia were also confiscated by the police and drug agent team.

Gandawali is a 38-year-old businessman who has recently taken residence in the Valley.

Allatogs said based in police background investigation, Gandawali has various boarding houses being rented at Baguio City and the La Trinidad area.

Gandawali was also arrested in 2012 for the shooting of Michael Sequerra and a case of frustrated murder was filed against him. The case was later on settled out of court, allowing Gandawali to go scot free.

However, Gandawali was also arrested twice possession of drugs, specifically shabu, by Baguio City cops and drug agents and is included in the drug watch list.

“His present case categorically concludes his recidivism in dangerous drugs violation and possession of illegal firearms which could be all instruments in perpetrating heinous crimes in the Valley and Baguio City,” Allatog said.

Gandawali is now under the custody of La Trinidad Municipal Police Station.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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