Suspects in ambush of Lanao Sur governor identified

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 18 February) — At least ten suspects in Friday’s ambush of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. have been identified, Bangsamoro Minister for Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo announced in a press conference here on Saturday afternoon.

Sinarimbo did not divulge the names of the suspects pending results of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

But he asked the mayors belonging to the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Lanao del Sur chapter to negotiate for the surrender of the suspects to the authorities.

“We know who these suspects are. It would be better for them to surrender peacefully,” Sinarimbo said.

Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Alonto (left), Vice Governor Mohammad Khalid Adiong (center) and Bangsamoro Minister for Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo (right) prepare for the press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, 18 February 2023. Sinarimbo announced that at least 10 suspects in the ambush Friday on the convoy of Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. have been identified. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Unidentified gunmen ambushed the convoy of Adiong in barangay Delimbayan, Maguing town while the governor was on his way to Wao town in Lanao del Sur.

Adiong was wounded but four of his security escorts died in the ambush.

Police said a staff member of Adiong identified as Ali Macapado was also wounded. A fifth member of Adiong’s security, an Army soldier, turned up Saturday with slight injuries.

Adiong was brought to Cagayan de Oro where doctors at the Polymedic General Hospital removed a slug from his right hip last Friday.

The 57-year-old governor was declared out of danger after the successful operation.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr.. MindaNews file photo by MARIVIC OMANDAM DAVIS

Sinarimbo had a closed-door meeting with the family of Adiong in a hotel here to apprise them of the investigations conducted by the PNP and MILF. 

He said reports reaching him indicate a motorcycle used by one of the suspects was seized near the ambush site located 1.5 kilometers from an MILF camp.

Former Lanao del Sur governor Soraya Alonto Adiong, mother of Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., is wheeled to a closed door family meeting inside a hotel in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday, 18 February 2023. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Rep. Zia Adiong (1st District, Lanao del Sur), brother of the governor said their family would wait for the outcome of the police investigation.

Twenty-five mayors in Lanao del Sur came to the press conference to show their support for Adiong. Lanao del Sur has 39 towns and one city. 

Butig town Mayor Dimnatang Pansar, President of the LMP in Lanao del Sur,  belied speculations that the ambush was “politically motivated.”

Pansar said Adiong enjoys the support of all town mayors in Lanao del Sur. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)