Hataman orders probe into MSU shootingBy Charlie Señase
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Acting Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has ordered a thorough investigation into the recent shooting that rocked the state-owned Mindanao State University in Marawi City and left at least seven people.
Hataman’s order came as more and more Marawi City residents blamed the military for the deaths of a six-year-old girl and three other civilians as soldiers scrambled to go after armed men who had killed three soldiers in an ambush on the university campus.
The Miraato family has gained support among Marawi in their belief that the bullet that killed Gaily Miraato may have come from soldiers patrolling Marawi City on the evening of August 8 after a group of armed men ambushed and killed three soldiers.
The family’s members said Gaily was hit by a bullet as truckloads of soldiers went around the city and bursts of gunfire were heard.
Hataman said he had directed Secretary Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr. of the ARMM’s Department of the Interior and Local Government to constitute Task Force Kalilintad.
Hataman also called on the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police to conduct an independent probe, adding that the ARMM’s Commission on Human Rights should also be part of any effort to investigate the incidents inside the MSU.
“While your regional government supports law-enforcement agencies’ action aimed at curbing drug-syndicate activities or other illegal acts, we do not condone any human rights violations. We call for an independent probe from the NBI, CHR ARMM and PNP on this,” Hataman said in a statement.
Colonel Daniel Lucero, chief of the 103rd Army Brigade in Marawi City, said it was lamentable that soldiers were now being blamed for a legitimate operation against armed groups inside MSU. Nonetheless, he welcomed the investigation.
“We are trying to be very, very objective in our efforts to be able to find out what really transpired,” Khalila Mae Mambuay-Campong, ARMM Cabinet secretary, said of the probe that Hataman ordered.
Campong said that according to the report they got, Gaily was among four civilian fatalities in the wave of violence triggered by the ambush, which in turn was blamed on an armed group linked to Marawi Mayor Fahad Salec.
Salec has denied any association with the armed men.
The three other civilians killed were the Pacalna brothers Nabillah, 19, and Zafrullah, 20; and engineer Manioba Rinabor Biston, 49.
“I express grief on the death of security forces and innocent civilians who were caught in the fray that occurred at the Mindanao State University Marawi campus and in the succeeding incident in downtown Marawi. (The soldiers’) courage, dedication and service to the Filipino people will always be remembered,” Hataman said.