MNLF allays fear for Sema’s slay attempt PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 February 2012 13:52

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has allayed fears of retaliation for the Jan.10 bungled attempt to kill its chieftain — Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema — and promised to leave to the central office of the Department of Justice the prosecution of the culprits.

High officials of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, accompanied by Sema, who is still recuperating from gunshot wounds, filed last week at the DOJ’s central office in Manila frustrated murder and three counts of attempted murder against the alleged masterminds of the atrocity.

Abdul Sahrin, spokesman of the largest of three factions in the MNLF, said they have assured Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo that they have confidence on the DOJ and that they are for the peaceful litigation of the criminal cases filed against the alleged plotters of Sema’s ambush.

“Our position is inspired by the provisions in the 1996 final peace agreement between the MNLF and the government stating that both sides must mutually cooperate in upholding law and order in Muslim areas in Mindanao,” Sahrin told reporters.

Sahrin said it was, in fact, for their desire to wage a legal way of fighting for justice that they have asked for the litigation of the ambush here of Sema to ensure it will be handled by prosecutors who are neither friends, nor acquaintances of the vice-mayor or the suspected masterminds and their accomplices.

Supt. Leo Quevedo, chief of the CIDG in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, earlier said they have built the cases based on valid pieces of evidence and the statements of witnesses.

Sahrin said the MNLF will peacefully observe the litigation process while helping gather more prospective witnesses to the crime in support of their legal effort to put those responsible behind bars.

“We guarantee President Aquino that we in the MNLF have big confidence on the DOJ and that we want the ambush of MNLF Chairman Sema fought for in the proper duly-constituted forum,” Sahrin said.

Sema was on his way home from a session at the Cotabato City council when one of two men riding a motorcycle in tandem opened fire at his vehicle with a customized, shortened assault rifle from a bag, apparently to conceal the weapon.

The gunman, who was killed by the vice-mayor’s security escorts in the ensuing shootout, was identified as Zermin Abdullah, a career service employee of the Office of Southern Cultural Communities in the autonomous region.

Sahrin said what is annoying for them are the text messages circulating since Wednesday purporting that they have a plan to avenge Sema’s plight.
“Obviously there is one party trying to create a bad impression of the MNLF,” Sahrin lamented.

Sahrin said leaders of the MNLF under Sema as just as willing to “swear en masse over” the Qur’an not to initiate anything that can derail the peaceful prosecution of the cases the CIDG filed against the alleged brains on his ambush. — Felix Ostrea