Lanao mayor held in gun case freed

Pres­i­dent’s ad­viser as­sures mil­i­tary, po­lice Pan­tar mayor will co­op­er­ate in probe

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - — STORY BY INQUIRERMINDANAO

ILIGAN CITY— A town mayor in Lanao del Norte was freed on Tues­day after an ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Duterte in­ter­vened. The In­quirer ob­tained doc­u­ments show­ing how Pres­i­den­tial Ad­viser on Over­seas Filipino Work­ers and Mus­lim Con­cerns Ab­dul­lah Mama-o wrote Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, com­man­der of the mil­i­tary’s 1st In­fantry Divi­sion, ask­ing to take cus­tody of Pan­tar town Mayor Jabar Tago.

ILIGAN CITY— A mayor in Lanao del Norte prov­ince and four oth­ers, who were held by the mil­i­tary after a raid on the of­fi­cial’s of­fice yielded firearms on Sun­day, were re­leased on Tues­day at the be­hest of an ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Duterte.

Doc­u­ments ob­tained by the In­quirer showed that Pres­i­den­tial Ad­viser on Over­seas Filipino Work­ers and Mus­lim Con­cerns Ab­dul­lah Mama-o had writ­ten Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, com­man­der of the mil­i­tary’s 1st In­fantry Divi­sion, to seek cus­tody of Pan­tar Mayor Jabar Tago and two of the mayor’s rel­a­tives.

They were among five peo­ple ar­rested in a raid on Tago’s satel­lite of­fice at the bor­der of Punod and Sundiga vil­lages in Pan­tar town on May 13.

Let­ter

“This shall serve as for­mal re­quest that the fore­go­ing par­ties be re­leased un­der my cus­tody while their case is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated,” Mama-o said in his May 14 let­ter to Murillo. The pres­i­den­tial ad­viser’s call­ing card was at­tached to the let­ter.

“I as­sure you they will co­op­er­ate with the mil­i­tary and the po­lice should there be any in­ves­ti­ga­tion sched­uled for their ap­pear­ance. I am tak­ing per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ap­pear­ance for such in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said.

Tago and his com­pan­ions were held at the Army’s 2nd Mech­a­nized Bri­gade in this city be­fore their re­lease to Mama-o’s cus­tody.

The raid took place while au­thor­i­ties were pur­su­ing sus­pects in a se­ries of gun at­tacks in the prov­ince dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod for the barangay and Sang­gu­ni­ang Ka­bataan polls.

On May 8, res­i­dent Ali Omar, 36, was shot and killed at Barangay Adapon Ali in Baloi town. This was fol­lowed by an­other shoot­ing on May 10 at Barangay Punod in Pan­tar that killed Ale­mod­ing Tawano, 25.

Au­thor­i­ties re­ceived re­ports claim­ing that the sus­pects had fled to Tago’s of­fice in Pan­tar.

Charges

When asked about the re­lease of Tago’s group, Murillo said in a text mes­sage on Wed­nes­day: “They were re­leased be­cause they could be de­tained only for 36 hours [in the ab­sence of charges]. We will re­sort to the reg­u­lar fil­ing [of cases through the prose­cu­tor’s of­fice].”

Murillo did not re­ply when asked on Thurs­day about whether Mama-o’s let­ter had put pres­sure on au­thor­i­ties to re­lease the mayor’s group. Mama-o wrote Murillo just a day after Tago and his com­pan­ions were ar­rested.

On May 15, lawyer Nur Jaypha Bacara­man of the Pub­lic At­tor­ney’s Of­fice signed a turnover of cus­tody re­ceipt for Tago, his rel­a­tives Jamelod­ing and Jan­oden Tago; Ki­ram Am­puan and Nas­rodin Hadji Ibrahim. The doc­u­ment was no­ta­rized by lawyer Re­joice Sobe­jano of Iligan City.

Dur­ing the May 13 raid, au- thor­i­ties re­cov­ered in Tago’s of­fice 15 as­sorted ri­fles and hand­guns, in­clud­ing a lo­cally made replica of a .50-cal­iber Bar­ret sniper’s ri­fle.

Drug link

A brief ex­change of gun­fire with some of the sus­pects took place dur­ing the raid, said Col. Robert Dauz, com­man­der of the 2nd Mech­a­nized Bri­gade.

Dauz said their in­tel­li­gence re­port claimed Ki­ram was in­volved in the il­le­gal drug trade in Metro Manila.

A source present dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion for the re­lease said Tago’s camp had claimed that the seized firearms would be even­tu­ally sur­ren­dered to the mil­i­tary and po­lice as part of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s dis­ar­ma­ment cam­paign.

CDO raid

Tago has been serv­ing as mayor for the past four months after the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions de­clared him the real win­ner in the 2016 polls.

He re­placed Vice Mayor Hadji Rakim Alin­gan, who as­sumed of­fice when Mayor Ex­chan Lim­bona was killed in an am­bush on Dec. 29, 2016.

A raid by the Mar­tial Law Spe­cial Ac­tion Group on Tago’s house in Ca­gayan de Oro City in July last year yielded sev­eral guns. The mayor, how­ever, was not home dur­ing the raid at Barangay Bon­bon.

LYN RILLON

RU­INS Struc­tures at Bo­ra­cay West Cove Re­sort are de­mol­ished as the gov­ern­ment un­der­takes a six-month en­vi­ron­men­tal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Bo­ra­cay Is­land.—

RICHEL V. UMEL

FIREARMS CACHE Sol­diers in­spect high-pow­ered firearms and bul­lets re­cov­ered after a raid on a satel­lite of­fice of Mayor Jabar Tago of Pan­tar, Lanao del Norte prov­ince.—

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.