Cotabato vice mayor denies kidnap link PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 February 2011 15:40

The tension between Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema and his political rivals is feared to escalate after he was implicated in the abduction here three weeks ago of a Chinese trader  which he and his followers said could have been instigated by hostile camps.

The victim, 54-year-old Adin Yu, owner of the city’s oldest hardware store, was snatched January 8 at the parking area of a casino inside a plush hotel here. His family has still been negotiating for his release.

Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema, also chairman of the most dominant of four factions in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), said he has nothing to do with the abduction of Yu and his inclusion in the information sheet as among those responsible for the offense was politically motivated.
“If I have not perpetrated any kidnapping when I was still an MNLF guerilla, eating only once a day, hiding in mosquito-infested jungles for a long time, there is no reason for me to get involved into such a crime now that I can eat three modest meals a day and sleep comfortably in my house,” Sema told reporters in a press conference here today.

The names of Sema and his known loyal followers, former City Administrator Ismael Daulog, Mayor Salaban Diocolano of Kabuntalan town in Maguindanao, Rolly Solano, and Sukarno Sema, an incumbent member of the city council, were included in the list of more than 10 more suspects the police recommended to be charged in connection with Yu’s kidnapping.

“Our names were not included in the first information sheet that was submitted to the prosecutor. We were listed as among the suspects in a subsequent request by the police to have the first information sheet amended,” Sema lamented.

Diocolano, for his part, said he himself was stunned to learn of his having been implicated in the abduction of Yu.

“How can that be when I have repeatedly even helped the police and military workout the rescue of kidnap victims that were brought by their captors to my town,” Diocolano said.

Sema decline to name who could be behind their inclusion in the list of suspects in the Yu abduction which the police submitted to the city prosecutor.

“Meantime we shall focus on how to clear our names out, the legal way,” Sema said.
The city’s incumbent mayor, Japal Guiani, Jr., who chairs the Cotabato City Peace and Order Council, is a known bitter political adversary of Sema.

The city’s former police director, Senior Supt. Willie Dangane, who was relieved from his post last February 1, even spoke in press conference last week, at Guiani’s office, about the implication of “incumbent local officials” in the abduction of Yu and in previous kidnappings here prior to their submission of the complaint sheet to the city prosecutor.

“Worse, the  prosecutor did not even bother to let us submit ourselves for a preliminary investigation as a requisite for an extensive evaluation of the complaint before deciding on whether there is, or there is no probable cause to prosecute us,” Daulog, one of the accused, a retired police officer. — Felix Ostrea