Reward money up for Gene Boyd?s alleged killers but ARMM police says one is dead

But the regional police chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), however, says Iting Sailani was among those killed in August 2006.

Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, chief of the Western Mindanao Regional Police-Intelligence Division said the brothers, allegedly members of the Abu Sayyaf’s “Urban Terrorist Group” in Sulu now top the reward list of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their alleged involvement, among others, in an October 2006 operation that led to the death of 11 persons.

The brothers were named suspects in the November 12, 2004 killing of Gene Boyd in Jolo Sulu. A hundred thousand peso reward was initially offered by the provincial government for anyone then who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of his killers.

A complaint for murder was filed before the provincial prosecutor in Sulu on November 17, 2004, only five days after Lumawag’s death. Lumawag’s family and MindNews had since asked for a reinvestigation following reports Gene Boyd was killed by military intelligence agents acting on erroneous intelligence reports.

Last year, the Sailani brothers were reported to be hired killers of a politician from Sulu aside from their membership in the Abu Sayyaf.

Casimiro said the decision to increase the reward money was agreed upon three weeks ago. He said they were assisted by US troops under the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines in distributing posters and leaflets of the Sailani brothers in the city “because we know they are here hiding somewhere in this city.”

Casimiro said the brothers are behind the latest spate of gang wars here.

SunStar Network Online, on the other hand, quoted Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director Manuel Barcena as saying they received a copy of the reward notice last week from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Casimiro’s and Barcena’s announcements, however,  raise some questions because Iting Sailani is dead and has been dead since August 12, 2006, according to the regional police chief in the ARMM where Sulu belongs.

In his March 23, 2007 letter to MindaNews, in response to a follow-up on Gene Boyd’s case, Chief Supt. Joel Goltiao, ARMM police chief, said Iting Sailani was killed on August 12, 2006 during a raid in their safehouse at Zone III, Tulay, Jolo, Sulu by elements of the Jolo police station and the military.

Goltiao said Iting Sailani and three other unidentified persons were killed while one was killed on the government side, P03 Basil Isad and five others were injured.

Goltiao added that Omar Sailani is still a subject for manhunt.