DILG Central News
Robredo issues show cause orders vs. 5 Maguindanao mayorsAugust 10, 2012
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo yesterday issued show cause orders against five mayors from Maguindanao for allegedly abandoning their posts when Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) rebels led by Ameril Umbra Kato threatened 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, all in Maguindanao in the last five days.
The DILG chief gave the alleged “absentee” Maguindanao mayors five days within which to answer why they should not be charged for abandonment of post as they were reportedly not around when Kato’s men threatened to attack their towns.
The subject of the show cause orders were 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.
Vice-Mayor Kanor D. 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.”
“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.
Kato, a Saudi-trained cleric and former chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF’s) 150th Base Command, had been dropped from the secessionist group’s roster two years ago for alleged abuses and insubordination.
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’s attack, it claimed, were 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 Bgy. Kabembeng, Sumisip, Basilan.
Kato, feared for his strict enforcement of a Taliban-style justice system in areas where he operates, was booted out from the MILF in 2008 when he plundered more than 40 farming villages in North Cotabato and Maguindanao in protest against the Supreme Court’s decision to scrap the GRP-MILF Memorundum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).
Political observers in Mindanao said the renewed violence initiated by Kato’s group in the region had put into question the MILF’s capability to control groups that have the capability to sabotage the on-going peace talks.