CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 February)—The son of Lanao del Sur. Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. has called on suspects behind the ambush of his father’s convoy to surrender and avoid encounter with law enforcers.
“If you’ve been named suspect but you have nothing to do with [the ambush], then why are you hiding?” Vice Gov. Mohammad Khalid Rakiin Adiong said during an interview with reporters at the Polymedic Medical Plaza here Sunday afternoon.
“But if you’re involved, if I were you, you better surrender because the outcome will be the same. Everyone will come looking for you, not just our family, but more so the government,” he added. The vice governor said they are “leaving everything to the police because we trust the government.”
He noted that the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government in Muslim Mindanao has issued a manhunt operation against the suspects.
He likewise urged families of the suspects to report to authorities their whereabouts so nobody would get hurt.
Vice Gov. Adiong also urged witnesses to come forward and help authorities.
Naguib Sinarimbo, Bangsamoro Minister for the Interior and Local Government, earlier said authorities have identified 10 suspects in the ambush of the governor in Maguing town in Lanao del Sur last February 17.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said all suspects have links to a drug syndicate involved in the production of marijuana and are also engaged in the sale of illegal firearms.
Vice Gov. Adiong said the family is convinced politics had nothing to do with the ambush. He said his father acknowledged that he had enemies during elections, but was not worried because it is normal. “But after the election, they’re enemies no more as there’s nothing personal between them,” he added.
Major Alvison Mustapha, Lanao del Sur PNP spokesperson, identified the leader of the suspects as Commander Lumala and Oscar Gandawali.
Gandawali was among the 10 suspects in the ambush of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents in Kapai town, Lanao del Sur on October 5, 2018 where five were killed and two were wounded.
In the morning of February 17, PDEA agents raided and uprooted 25,489 marijuana shrubs allegedly planted by Lumala and Gandawali in Barangay Bato-bato in Maguing.
Hours later, Gov. Adiong, in a seven-car convoy, passed by the same area on the way to attend an event in Wao, a town in Lanao del Sur bordering Kalilangan town in Bukidnon.
Gunmen positioned on both sides of the road fired at the convoy, killing four of Adiong’s security escorts. Adiong, who was in the third vehicle, was wounded and was rushed to Kalilangan and later to Cagayan de Oro for treatment.
The younger Adiong said his father was recovering well. “He is stable, now able to sit, and even able talk to relatives who call him,” the vice governor said of his father.
He said there has been no formal order for him to take over as acting governor while his father is in the hospital. “For me, he’s still the sitting governor. If he has to decide on something, we talk about it since I’m always here with him,” Vice Gov. Adiong said.
He said that sometimes, they have to call heads of offices to the hospital to consult with them before making decisions. (Marivic Omandam Davis / MindaNews)