COTABATO CITY The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has filed frustrated murder and attempted murder charges against seven local officials and a policeman in connection with the January 10 ambush against Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema.
Charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) Monday were Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani, Cotabato City Administrator Cynthia Gyuiani-Sayadi, Councilors Graham Dumama and Abdila Lim, Barangay Rosary Heights 5 Chairperson Amil Sula and Police Inspector Noel Gutierrez.
Sayadi vehemently denied any involvement in the attempt on the vice mayor's life.
She said she and other respondents named in the charge sheet will have their day in court.
"We are innocent and the truth shall set us free," said Sayadi, speaking for the other suspects, adding that they are yet to receive copies of the complaint filed by CIDG.
Sr. Supt. Leo Quevedo, CIDG-ARMM chief and deputy chief of Task Force Sema, said Insp. Gutierrez was included in the charge sheet for not handing over to the task force a vital evidence that could identify the brains behind the day light ambush.
Quevedo said the suspects have conspired to assassinate Sema, also chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), to stop him from running for mayor in the 2013 elections.
Citing witnesses' accounts, Quevedo said the plot to kill Sema was made at the firing range of Administrator Sayadi in Barangay Poblaction 1.
Quoting the witness, Quevedo said Sayadi, Guiani, Dumama, Lim and several others were at the firing range when Omar, the city administrator's husband, arrived carrying a blue bag that contained a baby Armalite rifle with suppressor and fired it.
The same bag was recovered from the alleged gunman, Zermin Abdulla, after Sema's escorts fired at him.
Quevedo said the motive was political.
He said the seven local officials remained innocent unless proven otherwise. (PNA)