South Cotabato

Gunmen kill prominent indigenous people’s leader in South Cotabato

Rommel Rebollido
Gunmen kill prominent indigenous people’s leader in South Cotabato

CRIME SCENE. The body of murdered Blaan leader and village councilor Roger Samling is covered with leaves as villagers watch from a distance in South Cotabato.

Brigada News

Police are looking into claims that the murder is due to a long-standing land conflict

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead on Sunday, June 12, a prominent and influential leader of an indigenous people’s group on a road near the spot where his brother was also killed in Polomolok town, South Cotabato province.

Polomolok police chief Major Niel Wadingan identified the victim as 43-year-old Roger Masalon Samling, a barangay councilor from Landan, Polomolok, and a member of a landed and prominent Blaan family.

The incident happened while Samling was driving his motorcycle toward the town proper.

A relative of the victim, who was traveling in the opposite direction, said he saw Samling being chased by two men on a motorcycle, and that the assailants fled toward the direction where they came from after the shooting.

The victim’s uncle Jaime Samling said the councilor’s brother, Rodrigo, was gunned down several years back near the place where Sunday’s gun attack was carried out.

Police said they were looking into claims that Samling’s murder was related to a long-standing land conflict, adding that the initial investigation pointed to personal grudges as the motive for the murder.

Landan, a predominantly Blaan hinterland village, is beset with numerous land claim disputes. –