MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed on Saturday, January 14, that the son of a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader and an incumbent Maguindanao lawmaker had been detained in Malaysia.
“Ngayon, dito sa nagputok diyan sa Maute, they have all been accounted for. Nahuli ko na, ang isa diyan anak ni Sema, [former] mayor ng Cotabato. He’s now detained diyan sa Malaysia,” Duterte said in his speech before businessmen in Davao City.
(Now, the Maute group responsible for the bombing, they have all been accounted for. We’ve caught them, one of them is the son of Sema, [former] mayor of Cotabato. He’s now detained in Malaysia.)
According to a report by Vera Files published in The Philippine Star, Datu Mohammad Abduljabbar Sema was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on November 24, 2016, in connection with the bombing at a night market in Davao City in September 2016.
The younger Sema reportedly went to Malaysia from Bangkok, Thailand, shortly before his 30-day visa-free entry there would expire.
The 26-year-old Sema is the son of former Cotabato City mayor Muslimin Sema, who is the chairman of an MNLF faction, and Maguindanao 1st District Representative Bai Sandra Sema.
Muslimin Sema is also being eyed as member of the Bangsamoro Transition Council (BTC), said Vera Files. The BTC is slated to resume work for the revision of a proposed law creating a new Bangsamoro region.
Sema was placed under Malaysian custody following his arrest. His parents were reported to have sought help from some Philippine officials regarding their son’s case.
The report also quoted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as saying that the Philippines would seek custody of Sema.
Last year, 7 suspects of the Davao City bombing were nabbed by authorities. They were tagged as members of the Maute terror group.
Fifteen people died in the blast while more than 60 others were injured. – Rappler.com
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