Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of Al Barka Mayor Darussalam Saguindilan Lajid by still unidentified gunmen in Zamboanga City on 6 December.
The slain local chief executive was a member of Lakas-CMD, to which Duterte-Carpio and Romualdez are the chairperson and president, respectively.
“His untimely demise is truly tragic and heartbreaking. This cowardly act deserves our collective outrage and condemnation,” Duterte-Carpio said in a statement.
According to an initial police investigation, Lajid was accompanied by Akbar town Mayor Alih Sali, and Sali’s cousin and driver Barad Nuruddin when the gun attack transpired.
Police said the three victims were traveling to attend the League of Municipalities of the Philippines meeting in Davao when they were attacked around 8:30 a.m last Monday along the seaside area in Barangay Baliwasan.
They were walking towards their parked vehicles when they were repeatedly shot with .45 caliber pistols by four gunmen aboard two motorcycles, according to police.
Lajid and Nuruddin were declared dead on arrival upon reaching the hospital while Sali is being treated at a local hospital.
In Zamboanga City, police have activated the Special Investigation Task Group, SITG ‘Salih and Lajid’ to monitor the ongoing probe, according to Zamboanga City Police Office Director Rexmel G. Reyes.
Among the possible motives the police are looking into are political-related concerns due since the victims were incumbent elected officials and aspirants for the upcoming 2022 national and local elections.
“It is also important to note that the victims have their own residences in the city, which was one of the reasons why they decided to pass through Zamboanga City before proceeding to Davao City to attend the Mayors’ League,” Reyes said.
Duterte-Carpio has offered her condolences to the families of the late officials.
“With the officers and members of Lakas-CMD, my thoughts and prayers for Mayor Darussalam and his aide as we offer their families our deepest condolences. We also wish for the speedy recovery of Mayor Sali, member of the local United Bangsamoro Party but also a member of the Lakas-CMD in Basilan,” Duterte-Carpio said.
“May the perpetrators behind this appalling attack be immediately brought to justice,” she added.
Romualdez, likewise, mourned the killings of Lajid and Nurrudin.
“We call on our law enforcement agencies to exhaust all means possible to identify those responsible for the gun attack and to put them all behind bars,” Romualdez appealed.
The Leyte congressman extended Lakas-CMD’s members’ condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.
“We are one with them in prayers that justice will be served the soonest time possible,” he said.
Both Lajid and Sali took their oath as Lakas-CMD members only last 11 September, according to Romualdez.
For his part, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Murad Ebrahim Minister Ebrahim called on authorities to immediately identify and imprison the perpetrators.
“The Bangsamoro government condemns the cowardly and brutal attack on the municipal mayors of Al Barka and Akbar,” Ebrahim said.
“Not only is this an attack against the people of Basilan, but an attack on the democratic principles and values of the entire Bangsamoro people,” he added.
Both Lajid and Sali are members of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, which is the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
with Nonoy Lacson