Cotabato City

1 killed, 4 hurt in slay attempt vs Cotabato City village chairman

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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1 killed, 4 hurt in slay attempt vs Cotabato City village chairman

AMBUSH. Cotabato City police conduct an investigation at the ambush scene in Mabini St. Bagua 3.

Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

The target of the ambush, Barangay Kalanganan 2 chairman Edris Ayunan-Pasawiran, escaped the scene unscathed

COTABATO, Philippines – One person was killed and four others were wounded in an intense gun battle that took place in Mabini Street, Barangay Bagua 3, Cotabato City following an ambush targeting the car of a barangay chairman on Friday, June 7.

The target of the ambush was Barangay Kalanganan 2 Chairman Edris Ayunan-Pasawiran. He managed to escape the scene according to his brother, Barangay Mother Bagua Chairman Lily Ayunan.

“My brother Edris just visited his wife in Bagua 3, then when they came out, this is what happened. They smashed his vehicle with raining bullets. Luckily, he survived,” said Lily Ayunan.

The barangay chairman’s van, where he rode with his aides, was mangled with bullets from high-powered firearms and pistols. A scene of crime operations team had documented around 120 slugs and unfired shells scattered all over the ambush area, including two suppressors believed to be from the attackers.

BULLETS. Police mark the placement of the numerous slugs and unfired shells found all over the ambush area. Photo by Ferdinandh Carbera/Rappler.

Cotabato City Public and Safety Officer Adam Guiamad said the incident took place before 8 pm on Friday. Two of the people who got shot were “severely wounded” and had been sent to the hospital, he said.

Ahead of the barangay elections in 2023, Edris Ayunan-Pasawiran had lost his son Al Farr – a candidate for village councilor – and two of their allies during a shootout on October 24, 2023, in Barangay Rosary Heights 12. The incident was docketed by the Commission on Election as an incident of election related violence during the barangay polls.

Follow-up operation

In a follow-up operation on Friday night, a silver minivan believed to be the vehicle used by the suspects was found abandoned in the corner of Narra and Kabuntalan Streets in Barangay Rosary Heights 3, around three kilometers away from the ambush site.

The minivan was left with its engine still running. A pistol was found at the passenger’s front seat area. The front shield window had three bullet holes, signifying it was hit also during the clash.

Authorities found a government ID in the attacker’s vehicle, which is now the subject of an investigation.

Cotabato Mayor Bruce Matabalao urged the police to conduct an in-depth investigation regarding the incident.

In a Facebook post on Saturday morning, June 8, Matabalao appealed to his constituents to observe calmness, be observant, and choose the truth. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge the recent incidents of violence that have shaken our community. I understand the fear and concern these events have caused, and I want to assure you that these feelings are shared by all of us,” he said.

Cotabato City Vice Mayor Butch Abu has also condemned the attack on his allies in SIAP (Serbisyong Ingklusibo-Alyansang Progresibo) Party.

“These are not just simple attacks on particular individuals, but a gross violation of the principles of peace and justice intended to instill fear among us. We call upon our authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring the perpetrators to justice”, Abu said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, the party associate and chapter president of SIAP Party in Cotabato City, called the recent incident a “political assassination” targeting the family of Edris Ayunan-Pasawiran.

“We are saddened for the lack of security in the city that caused the series of killing and atrocities here. It seems government has no control of it,” he said. –

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