Hunt on for ‘missing’ Maguindanao mayor PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 September 2014 14:40

The police launched on Friday an extensive search for the mayor of Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao who abandoned her post after a court issued a warrant for her arrest in connection with a murder case.

Shariff Aguak Mayor Zahara Ampatuan, who has been out of office for weeks now, has temporarily been replaced by Vice-Mayor Marop Ampatuan, who assumed as acting mayor on September 17 based on the Local Government Code and a written imprimatur from the municipal council.

Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, police director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, on Saturday told reporters plainclothes operatives are now trying to locate the whereabouts of Mayor Ampatuan.

The search for the missing Mayor Ampatun began started on Friday, according to Delos Reyes.

The missing Mayor Ampatuan is wife of former Shariff Aguak Mayor Anuar Ampatuan, one of the detained principal suspects in the infamous November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 people, more than half of them journalists, in Barangay Masalay in Ampatuan municipality.

A court in Cotabato City had earlier issued a warrant for Mayor Ampatuan’s arrest in connection with the April 3 murder of Alfredo Amelista, who was secretary of Shariff Aguak’s municipal council.

Two others, Kanurin Tayuan and Rambo Guiasalam, were also charged with murder along with the mayor.

Vice-Mayor Ampatuan started discharging the functions of a municipal chief executive last Thursday.

The ARMM’s local government secretary, lawyer Anwar Malang, said as an acting mayor, Vice-Mayor Ampatuan shall manage Shariff Aguak’s local government unit only on a ministerial capacity.

Malang said as a “steward” of the Shariff Aguak LGU, Vice-Mayor Ampatuan cannot appoint, or terminate subordinate-employees.

“His being acting mayor is only temporary. If Mayor Ampatuan, free from legal impediments whatsoever, returns to work, there must be a peaceful turnover of the mayoral post and Vice-Mayor Ampatuan shall revert to his position as elected municipal vice-mayor,” Malang said.

Vice-Mayor Ampatuan announced on Saturday over Catholic station dxMS in Cotabato City that he will abide by the regulations governing his being caretaker of the Shariff Aguak LGU.

“I will not have problem obeying the rules set by the Local Government Code,” Vice-Mayor Ampatuan said.