Respondents in Sema slay try case no-show in prelim probe PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 March 2012 14:05

Officials of the Moro National Liberation Front wanted agents of the National Bureau of Investigation to personally deliver to all respondents implicated in the ambush of the vice-mayor in Cotabato City another set of invitation for a preliminary investigation by a special panel of the Department of Justice.

None of the seven accused, whose houses and offices here are easily traceable, in the near fatal ambush here last January 10 of Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema appeared at the supposed March 20 preliminary investigation on the case at the DOJ’s central office in Manila.

Named respondents to the Sema ambush case were Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani, Jr., city administrator Cynthia Guiani Sayadi and her husband, Omar Sayadi, city councilors Graham Dumama and Abdillah Lim, Amil Sula, who is barangay chairman, and Police Inspector Noel Gutierrez.

They were charged with masterminding the bungled attempt to kill the vice mayor.

Sema, who had served as mayor here for three consecutive terms prior to his election as vice mayor, is chairman of one of at least three factions in the MNLF.

Sema’s counsel, lawyer Ceasar Europa, told reporters here by phone that their group appeared at the DOJ’s central office last Tuesday.

“The respondents did not appear. We have learned, ‘accordingly,’ they did not receive any invitation to appear at the DOJ’s central office for the preliminary investigatio,” Europa pointed out.

Europa, however, said they are not bothered by the virtual “no show” of the seven respondents because DOJ records will reveal that corresponding subpoenas have indeed been sent to them.

“Certainly they will again be invited,” he said.

Europa described as “sensible and realistic” the MNLF’s appeal for NBI to let agents deliver personally to the respondents another set of invitation.
Europa said there is another round of investigation at the DOJ office on March 27 and, subsequently, on April 10.

“Notices and invitations are traditionally sent via registered mail and post offices have good records pertaining to the transit of registered mails,” Europa said.

The spokesman of MNLF, Abdul Sahrin, said they have trust and confidence on the DOJ’s capability to handle the frustrated murder charges filed against the seven respondents, six of them residing in Cotabato City.

Sema was on his way home from a session in the city council when one of two men riding a motorcycle in tandem opened fire at his vehicle with an M-16 assault rifle, hitting the vice-mayor in his right cheek and lower jaw.

Sema’s bodyguards managed to return fire and kill the gunman, Zermin Abdullah, a career service employee of the Office of Southern Cultural Communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Sahrin said they have asked for the litigation of the attempt on Sema’s life in Metro Manila, which is for them a neutral ground.