|Killing of Mayor Japal Jojo Guiani Jr. supporter:Cotabato City vice mayor Muslimin Sema , Bai Sandra Sinsuat Sema , 2 others charged with murder |
COTABATO CITY , Philippines – Police have filed murder charges against Cotabato City vice mayor Muslimin Sema and his wife Bai Sandra Sinsuat Sema, Sukarno Sema , Romeo K.Sema his two police bodyguards, and two others in the killing of a supporter of Mayor Japal Jojo Guiani Jr., as political violence spiked ahead of next month’s elections.
Witnesses identified Muslimin Sema, as the gunman who allegedly killed Ahmed Sahid, a supporter of Mayor Guiani, last Sunday afternoon, said Senior Superintendent Danny Reyes of Cotabato City police.
Also charged before the Cotabato City provincial prosecutor’s office were Bai Sandra Sinsuat Sema wife of Muslimin Sema , Sukarno Sema , Romeo K.Sema and 3 others.
Police said the filing of the information for murder against the suspects “was a result of careful and deliberate follow-up investigation” by Special Task Force Cotabato City.
“The (Cotabato police) will not hesitate to file cases in court, as evidence warrants, against all politicians and candidates who only (have) the laws of the jungle in mind,” he said.
At least 33 people have been killed in election-related attacks since Jan. 10, police said.
Elections in the country are often marred by violence and fraud. About 130 people were killed during the 2007 elections in Cotabato.
Nearly a third of the country’s cities and municipalities have been identified as potential hot spots for election unrest.
In the worst case in the country’s recent history, members of the powerful Ampatuan clan are accused of massacring 57 people, including journalists, family members and supporters of a political rival, in Maguindanao last November.
President Arroyo subsequently created a commission charged with dismantling more than 100 private armies on the payroll of political warlords.
Some were disbanded, but a member of the commission, Herman Basbano, told reporters Wednesday that more gunmen were being hired despite the government crackdown.
“Candidates resort to using these private (armies),” he said.
Police have said that nearly 2,000 people have been arrested across the country for violation of the election gun ban.