Maguindanaon farmer killed in crossfire in ambush of Banisilan mayor

North Cotabato Governor Manny Piñol, in a radio interview, hinted the victim may have been a member of a Maguindanao clan at odds with detained Banisilan Mayor Floro Allado.

But the Banisilan police identified the victim as Kwas Dagandal, 40, farmer, and a resident of Barangay Pantar in Banisilan.

Reports said Allado was on his way home to Banisilan to turn over his position to the incoming town mayor when a group of armed men ambushed him along the highway.

Arrested in November 2006 for a string of murder charges, Allado was given a court order to leave temporarily his detention cell inside a police station here for a medical check-up and to turn over his position to the mayor-elect.

Allado was himself elected vice mayor even as he campaigned from his prison cell.

Allado’s detention stemmed from the ambush, which he allegedly staged against a group of Maguindanaon farmers last November 2, 2006 that killed five and wounded several others.

Families of the victims filed multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges against him.

Piñol raised doubts on Allado’s reasons for getting a court order.

“Why conduct a turn-over when he can do it in a later date?   I don’t believe his reasons,” Piñol said.

The governor blamed the Regional Trial Court Branch 19 based in Midsayap, which issued the order, for the eruption of hostilities in Banisilan

“If the court did not issue the order, Allado could have stayed in his prison cell and the fighting would not have taken place,” he said.

To stop the fighting, Pinol ordered his policemen in Banisilan to handcuff Allado and bring him back to the detention cell.

But instead of locking him up in the Kidapawan City’s PNP station, Piñol gave strict orders to his police to send Allado to the province’s rehabilitation center in Barangay Amas, some 15 minutes travel from here. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)