COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/ 20 Nov.) – Relatives of four persons who were found dead on Monday in separate areas in Region 12 refuted claims by the police that they were terrorists and demanded a thorough investigation on their death.
Anwar Emblawa, administrative officer of the local government of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao identified the slain individuals as Badrudin Ibrahim Singgon, Buhari Edzla Uday, Kokoy Datumanong and Datu Punto Ampatuan.
“They are all residents of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao and government employees of Shariff Aguak town,” Emblawa, a close relative of Singgon’s, said.
He recalled that the four men left Shariff Aguak for South Cotabato at 4:00am on Sunday onboard a minivan multicab, but he didn’t know the purpose of the trip.
The next day, the bodies of Singgon and Ampatuan were found dumped near the highway in Banga, South Cotabato, and those of Uday and Datumanong in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat. All the bodies bore gunshot wounds.
“We condemn these killings. I can attest these guys are not ISIS members, they are law abiding citizens and workers of our town. We call on the head of Philippine National Police to conduct a thorough investigation,” Emblawa said.
“I want to make it clear, my son Badrudin and his friends could not be possibly linked to ISIS terrorists or any terror group. I should know it better as his father. We demand justice,” Singgon’s father said in a statement.
Police have yet to respond to these statements.
On Monday, Superintendent Aldrin Gonzalez, information chief of Police Regional Office-12 said a gray multicab tried to evade a checkpoint in Barangay Kenram in Isulan town by turning back towards Tacurong, making the police and soldiers suspicious.
Gonzales said the passengers opened fire at members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 12 in Barrio Dos, Tacurong where they attempted to escape.
He said this prompted the police and soldiers to chase the suspects until they were cornered at Kapingkong Road in Tacurong where they were killed in a firefight.
Police alleged they recovered guns, a suspected improvised explosive device fashioned from an 81-mm mortar connected to a cellphone and a black ISIS flag.
Sultan Kudarat has imposed a heightened alert to prevent attacks during the province’s ongoing Kalimudan Festival. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)