ILIGAN, Philippines – One of the children of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. on Sunday, February 26, warned of bloodshed as he called on suspects in his father’s ambush to turn their selves in to prevent further violence.
Vice Governor Mohammad Khalid Adiong, the governor’s son, said this as authorities launched a manhunt against the suspects in the February 17 ambush that killed four security aides and wounded his father and two others in Maguing, Lanao del Sur.
His uncle, Lanao del Sur 1st District Representative Zia Adiong, earlier said initial efforts by town mayors to facilitate the surrender of the suspects failed, and their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Mohammad Khalid said the suspects should “surrender or they might die there.”
“If you are a suspect, don’t hide. If you have nothing to do with the ambush, better surrender for the sake of your family and friends. Don’t be among those who are hiding from the law,” he said.
Mohammad Khalid also appealed to people who know about the suspects’ whereabouts to report them to authorities.
On a hospital bed in Cagayan de Oro, Governor Adiong hinted at an impending crackdown on the illegal drug trade in his province in the aftermath of the ambush.
“Hanggang ngayon, pinag-iisipan ko pa bakit kami na-ambush. Wala naman rido ang pamilya ko (Until now, I am still figuring out why we were ambushed. My family has no rido [clan feud] with anyone),” he said.
Police earlier identified two leaders of the group suspected behind the Maguing town ambush. One of the suspects, Oscar Gandawali, had been implicated in an ambush that killed five narcotics agents and hurt two others in Kapai, Lanao del Sur, in 2018. He was charged with multiple murders along with several others.
The group behind the 2018 ambush had been linked to a drug syndicate allegedly led by Lanao del Sur-based narco politicians.
Governor Adiong called on Lanao del Sur’s concerned citizens to cooperate with authorities and provide them with useful information about those behind illegal drug operations in their respective communities.
Aside from Gandawali, Lanao del Sur police spokesperson Major Alvison Mustapha also identified a certain “Kumander Lumala” as one of those who led an armed group in raining the convoy of Adiong’s group with bullets
Lumala’s motorcycle was found abandoned allegedly at the scene of the ambush in Barangay Dilimbayan in Maguing town shortly after the February 17 attack.
“I am now recuperating in the hospital… Our work in the province was not hampered by our situation now. But I am really saddened by what happened to my four companions. I will not stop seeking justice for them,” the governor said.
Nasser Ganda Sr., who was with the governor during the ambush, said they have stepped up security for Adiong.
Ganda recalled that the vehicle, where Adiong was, sped off and ran on flat tires after being riddled with bullets until their group found help.
Adiong and one of his wounded aides were initially rushed to a Municipal Health Center at Amai Manabilang town, and then to a Kalilangan town hospital in neighboring Bukidnon. From there, Adiong was moved to Cagayan de Oro.
Ganda said there were nine vehicles in the convoy, and the governor was in the third car.
At that time, he said, Adiong had wanted to inspect ongoing road projects after attending the 63rd Araw ng Wao, another Lanao del Sur town near Bukidnon province. – Rappler.com
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