AFP remains on alert in Maguindanao a week after the massacre

November 30, 2009 12:28 pm 

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Nov. 30 – Military and police authorities in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato remained on heightened alert exactly a week after the mass murder of journalists and relatives of political aspirant in Maguindanao.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the triple alert status remained enforced in these areas.

"The alert status remains to prevent bloodshed as a result of the massacre," Ponce told reporters.

"We are not taking any chances," he said. "Your military and the government are doing everything to restore normalcy in the area."

More troops are expected to arrive in Maguindanao to augment security forces and join manhunt against former government militia believed to have been used as private army in Maguindanao.

With the province and the city under state of emergency, police agents raided on Monday the house of a police official in Cotabato City.

Supt. Willie Dangane, city police director, said the Police Special Action Force enforced a search warrant on the house of Chief Inspector Saudi Mukamad, chief of the 1507th provincial police mobile group, in Bagua 2, Cotabato City.

The raid yielded several hand guns and an M-16 Armalite rifle.

Mukamad, who was not in his home during the raid, was reportedly among the policemen who flagged down the convoy of vehicles of Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael Mangudadatu's wife Genalyn, in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao last Nov. 23 that eventually led to the slaughter of about 57 persons, 30 of them were journalists.

Mangudadatu's wife and relatives were to represent him in filing his candidacy for the gubernatorial race in Maguindanao when the killings occurred, the worst political violence in the country's history and the worst attack against journalists all over the world.

Meanwhile, two police escorts of detained Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, were arrested at the Davao International Airport while about to travel to Manila.

The Davao Airport police withheld the two security aides, identified as Police Officers 1 Haron Usman and Abdul Raman, for carrying firearms with revoked memorandum receipt.

Last week, the Davao airport police held four other police escorts of ARMM Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan.

Ampatuan Jr. is being held at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters while charges of multiple murder, robbery and theft are being readied against him, in connection with the Nov. 23 massacre.(PNA) LDV/NYP/EOF/jmd

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