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Maguindanao PPOC saddened by murder of LP campaigner

 • 16:47 PM Thu May 5, 2016
John Unson
Maguindanao police director Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan briefs Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on their initial findings on the murder of Lorenzo Talma. (JOHN UNSON)

COTABATO CITY --- Maguindanao’s provincial peace and order council (PPOC) on Thursday condemned the fatal ambush early this week of an influential Liberal Party campaigner in North Upi town.Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the PPOC, said he instructed the provincial police director, Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, to lead the probe on the murder of Lorenzo Talma, former chairman of Barangay Nangi in North Upi town.Talma and a companion, Odin, were attacked on Monday night by motorcycle-riding gunmen while on their way home from a political dialogue with North Upi’s LP stalwart, reelectionist Mayor Ramon Piang.Talma died on the spot from bullet wounds. Odin, who was wounded in the attack, is now undergoing medication in a hospital. We in the PPOC are saddened by that incident. We want the police to establish immediately the identities of the culprits and prosecute them to the fullest extent of law,” Mangudadatu said.Talma is campaigning for both Mangudadatu and the LP’s figurehead for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the reelectionist Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman.Like Hataman, Mangudadatu is as convinced that Talma was killed for his involvement in partisan activities favoring the administration party. It is so sad to see people supporting us, the politicians who are helping make the Mindanao peace process succeed, get hurt, maimed or killed just for helping a party whose peace and development agenda they believe in,” Mangudadatu said.The incumbent North Upi mayor is seeking reelection unopposed as LP candidate, prompting speculations that Talma was possibly killed in connection with his being a staunch campaigner of Mangudadatu and Hataman.Mangudadatu said he has been receiving reports of harassment of his campaigners in isolated areas by people identified with rival camps. We have instructed these victims to just keep it cool and never engage in something unlawful. They are resilient and none of them are fighting back,” Mangudadatu said.He said he had asked the intelligence units of the Army’s 6thInfantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao’s 36 towns, to help the police gather information on who could have masterminded the murder of Talma. It could not be due to local politics because the reelectionist mayor of North Upi is running for the same position without any opposition at all,” Mangudadatu said.Relatives of Talma are convinced he was murdered for extensively supporting staunch political allies Mangudadatu and Hataman.The fatal ambush last Monday of Talma in North Upi southwest of Maguindanao was preceded by the death lastMarch 17of former mayor Ahmad Alip Nanoh of Pangutaran town in Sulu. Nanoh was shot dead in Zamboanga City by suspected hired killers.Talma and Nanoh were both campaigners of Hataman, LP’s official candidate for ARMM governor.The murder of Talma and Nanoh, an ethnic Tausug, was preceded by the near fatal ambush last January in Zamboanga City of Hataman’s political ally, Mayor Jasper Que of Bongao, capital town of Tawi-Tawi.The attempt on Que’s life came immediately after he publicly announced that he and his constituent-barangay chairmen in Bongao, which has more than 40,000 registered voters, will support Hataman’s candidacy for a second term.The slain ex-mayor Nanoh, who was a candidate for mayor of Pangutaran at the time he was killed, belonged to the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), but campaigned for Hataman since the party did not pit a candidate for ARMM governor.

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