GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Prosecutors dismissed the murder complaint filed against Maguindanao del Norte Governor Ainee Sinsuat, her husband Lester, and more than 30 others in connection to the broad daylight assassination of a political rival in Datu Odin Sinsuat town a few months after the 2022 elections.
Lawyer Valerie Patac-Añober, who also serves as the spokesperson of the Sinsuat couple, announced over the weekend that the Maguindanao Prosecutor’s Office rejected the complaint due to a lack of evidence and probable cause.
The murder complaint was filed by the family of former barangay chairman Jamael Sinsuat who was shot dead near a police station in Datu Odin Sinsuat town last September.
Jamael, a former barangay chairman of Poblacion Dalican in Datu Odin Sinsuat, had challenged his nephew and the governor’s husband, Lester, during the 2022 mayoral race in Datu Odin Sinsuat, the capital of the new Maguindanao del Norte province.
Tragedy struck when the defeated mayoral candidate was shot while he was leaving a mosque after Friday prayers with a companion, who was also wounded in the attack by a lone gunman on September 30, 2022. Despite efforts to save him, Jamael died on the way to the hospital.
The suspected shooter, who remained unidentified to this day, was later found dead near the crime scene.
Later in the day, another nephew of Jamael, Darius, was shot and wounded in a separate incident.
The Sinsuats are well-known in the two Maguindanao provinces as part of a ruling political clan, and the assassination caused fear of reprisals and crossfire among residents, some of whom fled their homes after the killing.
In November 2022, Jamael’s widow Monessa and their children accused the governor, the town mayor, and more than two dozen others of allegedly conspiring.
The respondents were mostly members of the Datu Sinsuat police, including former town police chief Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Tabora.
The other respondents cleared by prosecutors are the following:
- Anwat Flex Salem
- Giyadsali Klaw
- Akmad Ladsikan
- Sultan Dagadas
- Powa Dagadas
- Mamasalido Pedtukasan
- Major Pablo Boloy
- Master Sergeant Lambay Ambolodto
- Staff Sergeant Benjamin Bedo
- Staff Sergeant Ramon Erinda
- Staff Sergeant Domingo Guerrero Jr.
- Staff Sergeant Akas Latip
- Staff Sergeant Ladzak Mandaragon
- Staff Sergeant Nesser Nonao
- Staff Sergeant Kriziovie Yasser Odin
- Staff Sergeant Mary Grace Tagabe
- Staff Sergeant Datu Jhemin Untong
- Corporal Kadafy Abdullah
- Corporal Abraham Madayan
- Corporal Rahima Mantawil
- Corporal Hisham Marcaban
- Corporal Nasser Mariga
- Corporal Agapito Peria Jr.
- Corporal Annalyn Perocho
- Corporal Nul Pingulaman
- Corporal Ashraf Salik
- Corporal Awal Zacaria
- Patrolman Samri Asgali
- Patrolman Jacob Baraacal
- Patrolman Al Ditucalan
- Patrolman Lucman Shajid Mamalinta
- Patrolman Momar Midtimbang
- Patrolman Ameruddin Mustapha
- Patrolman Cheyenne Rivada
Lester and his wife expressed their elation about their legal victory, saying that the truth about their innocence has been upheld.
Añober said the dismissal of the murder complaint validated their claims that the governor, Lester, and the more than two dozen respondents had nothing to do with the murder.
Jamael’s family, however, has reportedly filed a motion for reconsideration with the prosecutors’ office.
However, in a surprising turn of events, authorities had also filed a complaint against Monessa and her children for obstruction of justice, claiming they kept the gun used in the 2022 murder and refused to hand over the murder weapon to the police. – Rappler.com
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