Two mayors from Basilan province were ambushed Monday as they were traveling together to Zamboanga City, police said.
One of the mayors, Darussalam Saguindilan Lajid of Al-Barka town, was killed. The other, Alih Awal Sali of Akbar town, is in critical condition, Police Lt. Mary Agnes Miro of the Zamboanga City Police said.
Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Miro said Sali’s driver was also killed in the shooting perpetrated by four suspects.
“The two mayors are in the hospital now. But one of them, Mayor Darus, has already died. He and Mayor Sali’s driver were declared dead on arrival,” Miro said.
In a statement, the Philippine National Police (PNP) identified Sali’s driver as Barad Nuruddin.
Miro said at around 8 a.m., the mayors were shot after arriving at the Baliwasan Seaside in Zamboanga City on a motorized boat.
The PNP said the suspects fled on board a motorized boat and a white car.
Deputy Speaker and Mujiv Hataman strongly condemned the killing of Albarka Mayor Lajid and the wounding of Akbar Mayor Alih Salih and their two security escorts.
“This violent crime has no place in a society that is deeply anchored on peace and a shared faith. I condemn the people behind the shooting, and I call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of a public official and the wounding of another,” Hataman said in a statement.
“Hindi man kami magkasama sa partido, pare-pareho kaming mga Basileño nila Mayor Lajid at Mayor Salih na naghahangad ng mabuti para sa aming lalawigan at mga kababayan. Sa katunayan, matalik ko silang kaibigan at kasama sa Basilan Peace Riders at sa Basilan Practical Shooters Association,” he added.
[Even if we are not political party mates, the mayors and I are all Basileños hoping for the good of our province and our provincemates. In fact, they are my close friends and colleagues with the Basilan Peace Riders and Basilan Practical Shooters Association.]
“We hope that a thorough and independent investigation will be conducted into this incident, and we hope for the speedy recovery of those who were wounded in the shooting. And we pray that justice be served on those who are guilty in the crime,” the lawmaker said.