GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Authorities pressed charges against a group, including a vice mayoral aspirant, in connection with last week’s ambush that killed 10 people in Barangay Kalumamis, Guindolingan town in Maguindanao, police said on Friday, February 18.
Lieutenant Anwar Mabatao, Guindulungan police chief, said they filed multiple murder and frustrated multiple murder cases against the 22 people, mostly close relatives of the victims.
One of those charged was Tamano Mamalapat, a barangay chairman in the village of Kitapok, Saudi Ampatuan town who filed his certificate of candidacy for municipal vice mayor.
Police said the February 12 ambush was a result of a rido (clan feud) that had supposedly ended following a settlement among relatives.
Mamalapat denied any participation in the bloody attack, claiming that he even brokered a settlement between the families of two commanders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (BIAF-MILF).
The ambush killed an MILF commander identified as Peges Mamasainged, his sons Johari, Sadam, Sadr, and five others on the spot. One of the wounded men earlier reported as having survived the ambush subsequently died.
Mabatao said three of the survivors identified their attackers.
Anwar Dimasinsil, one of the wounded, said “Mga tiyuhin at mga pinsan ko ang nang-ambush sa amin. Kitang kita ko sila (My uncles and cousins were the ones who ambushed us. I saw them clearly).”
Police said the victims were headed to a kanduli (thanksgiving banquet) to celebrate the supposed rido settlement in Kitapok, Datu Saudi Ampatuan town when an armed group riddled the three-vehicle convoy with bullets on Saturday morning.
Mamasainged’s cousin, Jordan Mamalintang, also known as MILF commander Jordan, and his son Morsid, were among the 22 people charged by the police.
Authorities said the two Mamalintangs were the ones who led the armed men in staging the ambush.
But MILF spokesperson Von Al Hag disowned Mamalintang, and asserted that only Mamasainged, also known as “Black Magic,” was recognized by the Front as one of its commanders.
Authorities brought at least three witnesses to a safehouse after they were treated for their wounds at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital.
Lieutenant Colonel Cristio Lagyop, spokesperson for the police in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), told radio station DXMS that the feud was a result of the murder of Mamalintang’s wife.
One of Mamasainged’s sons was accused of being behind the killing. – Rappler.com
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship