ARMM officials condemn Marawi police chief slay PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 October 2015 11:37

Officials on Sunday condemned the fatal ambush Saturday afternoon of the Marawi City police chief in another bloody incident amid the worsening lawlessness in the area.

The victim, Supt. Al Abner Wahab Santos, was attacked in Luk’s-a-Datu District in Marawi City while driving his black Mitsubishi Montero en route to the city police station from a security conference in another barangay.

“It was a heinous act. We condemn the murder of the Marawi police chief in strongest term,” Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said Sunday.

Supt. Sigfried Ramos, director of the Lanao del Sur police, said investigators are still trying to establish the identities of the culprits and the real motive for the attack.

Marawi City is the capital of Lanao del Sur, a component province of ARMM.

Hataman will preside over a regional executive security cluster meeting on Monday in Marawi City to discuss the incident and plan out how the police, the military and local executives can cohesively address the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the area.

“We cannot address these problems without the cooperation of the local communities. We need public cooperation here,” Hataman said.

About 30 have been killed in the past 18 months in Marawi City, touted as the country’s only “Islamic city,” now a major transshipment point for methamphetamine hydrochloride, most known as shabu.

Sources from local civil society and peace advocacy blocs said some P200 million worth of shabu is being circulated from Marawi City to other Mindanao cities and provinces by drug rings protected by certain Maranaw politicians.

Hataman said Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles of the regional police and ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, who hails from Lanao del Sur, will attend Monday’s security cluster meeting in Marawi City.

“Me and my relatives in Lanao del Sur condemn this savage attack, which is a direct affront against the Philippine National Police,” Lucman said.

Saturday’s ambush-slay of Santos was preceded by more than a dozen recent  gun attacks in Marawi City that left more than 10 people dead, among them two popcorn vendors and a Visayan couple from North Cotabato engaged in an ambulant-style dry goods merchandising business.

An employee of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City was tortured, killed and burned using kerosene last year not far from the campus of the state-run school.

Marawi City hogged the news more than two months ago when a group of drug dependents raped, killed and burned a Maranaw girl in an incident that sparked public indignation and caused the relief of the directors of the city and Lanao del Sur provincial police offices.

Santos was not the first ever top-ranking law enforcement officer killed in Lanao del Sur.

Gunmen killed in an ambush in 1974 somewhere near Marawi City Col. Rogaciano Espiritu, then provincial commander of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary.