BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
At least 22 persons are facing multiple murder and frustrated multiple murder charges in connection with the February 12 ambush in Guindulungan, Maguindanao that killed 10 people and injured three others.
Lt. Anwar Mabatao, chief of Guindulungan Municipal Police Station, said included in the charge sheet was Tamano Mamalapat, village chief of Barangay Kitapok in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town.
Mabatao said those charged were positively identified by survivors of the ambush during the police investigation.
On February 12, Pegs Mamasainged alias “Commander Black Magic” of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (BIAF-MILF) together with his sons, relatives and other companions were on a three-car convoy and were on their way to a “rido” (clan war) settlement and “kanduli” (thanksgiving) in Barangay Kitapok, Datu Saudi Ampatuan when they were ambushed.
Mamasainged and his sons Sadam, Sadre, Johari, and Kamaro, and five other relatives were instantly killed while three others were injured on the scene, one of whom died in the hospital on Feb. 16.
Mamasainged was reportedly involved in a decades-old “rido” with Jordan Mama Lintang alias “Commander Jordan,” leader of a private armed group, which stemmed from land conflict and territorial dispute.
Police said Lintang and his son Morsid were believed to be behind the ambush.
According to Capt. Fayeed Cana of the Maguindanao provincial police office, the suspects and the victims were related by blood and by affinity.
Mamalapat, who is reportedly running for vice mayor in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in the May elections, denied having any hand in the ambush, saying it was even him who facilitated for the peaceful settlement of the “rido” between Mamasainged and Lintang.
“It was me who wanted a settlement of their dispute, how come you have this report that I masterminded the ambush? That is not true,” Mamalapat said in media interviews.
A joint investigation is still being conducted by the police, the BIAF and the government-MILF ceasefire panel to help settle the conflict and prevent any retaliatory attacks.