PNP: Franz Sabalones 'best' informant yet

MANILA (Updated) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday described Franz Sabalones, an alleged drug lord in the Central Visayas, as the "best" they got among the drug personalities that had appeared in Camp Crame.

Police authorities said Sabalones has provided vital information relating to the drug operations in his region.

"He is the best that we got [last Monday]. Napakarami niyang binibigay [na information]. Napakaraming dapat sundan kaya halos malito 'yung ating mga investigators. That's why I assigned so many task to follow on the leads given by Sabalones. Napakaganda 'yung mga leads and it will be a very fatal blow sa mga drug operations sa kanyang kinasasakupan (Central Visayas)," said Chief Superintendent Roel Obusan, director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Sabalones turned himself in to PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa together with his brother, San Fernando, Cebu Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones, who was mentioned in the "narco" list of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Earlier, Dela Rosa said Franz is at the same level as Jaguar Diaz, the top most wanted drug lord in Central Visayas who was killed in a police operation in Las Piñas City last June.

Obusan said Sabalones also named police officials up to the rank of Senior Superintendent who served as his protectors.

"Although he identified 'yung mga personalities na iyon, we have to get solid proof pa for a better case that we will file. Nasa statement pa lang tayo. We have to pursue on that," he said.

However, Obusan said they are yet to file criminal charges against Franz as their priority now is to extract more information from him.

"Hindi ko s'ya mapauwi for the reason na marami pa kaming gustong malaman sa kanya and also according to him he feels safer with the police. So be it," Obusan said.

He said Sabalones himself preferred to be under police custody, as he feels safer inside the police camp.

"He is at liberty as of now pero sa kanya mismo parang on his own volition nandito s'ya sa opisina," said Obusan.

Obusan said Franz is again set for another interrogation Tuesday.

Aside from Sabalones, three local chief executives who showed up in Camp Crame last week have provided vital information helpful in the ongoing campaign against proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

Obusan identified two of the three mayors as Maguing Lanao Del Sur Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Mulok and Marantao, Lanao Del Sur former mayor Mohammad Ali Abu Abenal.

Mulok and Abenal showed up at Camp Crame on Friday, two days before Duterte unveiled the names of personalities in illegal drugs.

Aside from their admission that they were once involved in illegal drugs trade from years 2000 to 2002 in the areas of Caloocan, Quiapo and Cavite, Obusan said they also provided other related information.

Obusan meanwhile refused to name the third mayor who had denied any involvement in the illegal drugs but had given the authorities information about the illegal drugs trade in his area of jurisdiction.

At least 30 local chief executives voluntarily submitted themselves for investigation after their names were included in Duterte's list.

"Most of the mayors and all others subjected to investigation give general denials on their participation on the proliferation of drugs in the respective areas of responsibilities," the police official said.

Obusan said the local government officials were allowed to go home after the PNP collected their judicial affidavit.

He said that they will again call the officials for another set of questioning and those who will fail to attend will be given written interrogatory.

"Kapag nakakita kami ng strong evidence against them then before filing of the complaint readily we will be calling for them," said Obusan.

The official said they are in the process of identifying if there is a standing arrest warrant against any of the officials who showed up.

"Ongoing 'yung checking (if someone has standing warrant of arrest) kasi kahapon pa chineck na yan. We still have to coordinate with other agencies aside from the files that we have," Ubosan said. (Sunnex)
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