The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on Friday asked five Maguindanao mayors to provide reasons why they should not be charged for allegedly abandoning their posts when rebels led by Ameril Umbra Kato of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) started to attack their respective towns last Sunday morning.
At least eight people - four soldiers and four civilians – had been killed in the skirmishes between the BIFM and Army soldiers in the towns of Guindulungan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Datu Hoffer in the last five days.
The alleged five “absentee” Maguindanao mayors were given five days to comply with the show cause order issued by Robredo.
“We have received reliable information that said local chief executives were not in their respective towns when Kato’s men perpetrated the attacks. Most of them are said to be holding offices-cum-residences in Cotabato City,” Robredo said.
The five local government offcials are Mayor Bai Zandra Sinsuat Ampatuan of Saydona town; Mayor Bai Reshal Santiago Ampatuan of Datu Unsay; Mayor Bai Bongbong Midtimbang Ampatuan of Datu Hoffer town; Mayor Datu Saudi Sheam II B. Ampatuan of Saudi Ampatuan; and Vice-Mayor Kanor D. Ampatuan of Salibo town.
Kanor Ampatuan assumed as mayor of Salibo town after its duly-elected mayor, Akmad Ampatuan, had gone hiding three months ago after a warrant for his arrest was issued against him by a Midsayap, North Cotabato court after new witnesses implicated him in the November 2009 Maguindanao Massacre.
Shortly before midnight last Sunday, Kato’s group attacked almost a dozen Army road side detachments, a brigade and a battalion headquarters in the adjoining Maguindanao towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi, Datu Unsay and Guindulungan.
The BIFM claimed the attack was in retaliation for the June 21 military incursion on its enclave in the province which sparked a confrontation and the death of guerilla identified as Mohammad; and the death of nine of their comrades last July 26 by the Army’s Special Forces in Barangay. Kabembeng, Sumisip, Basilan.