Suspects in attempt to kill anti-mining official known

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/13 Feb) —  The Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) has identified four suspects behind the attempt to kill a village chief who is very vocal in his opposition to small-scale mining activities in his area.

ZCPO director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo said Sunday that they forwarded to the prosecutor’s office a case of frustrated murder against suspects  Gani Jalil alias Tammy Gaddong, Hassan Kahal, Arcel Kahal, and Gregorio Macoycruz.

De Ocampo said the suspects’ identities were established based on the testimonies of witnesses who executed sworn affidavits pointing to the four as behind the January 21 attack on Felix Custodio, barangay chairman of Baluno, 28 kilometers west of this city.

Custodio, who is still confined at the hospital, was shot in the head while he was on the way home from the barangay hall of Baluno.

Custodio opposes illegal small-scale mining in his barangay, which is rich in natural resources like ore, zinc, lead and copper.

In the 1970s, Baluno was home of the Zambales Base Metal Incorporated (ZBMI).

The firm opted not to renew its 25-year mining lease contract when it expired, paving the way for the entry of illegal small-scale mining in Barangay Baluno.

De Ocampo said they also forwarded to the city prosecutor’s office the improvised shotgun and a pair of slippers recovered near the crime scene. (MindaNews)