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Maguindanao bet for vice governor slams court-ordered search of son’s home for firearms


06:45 PM February 4th, 2013

By: Charlie C. Señase, February 4th, 2013 06:45 PM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—A political clan in Maguindanao is planning to file a case against those behind the issuance of a search warrant by a Manila trial court on the residence of Talayan Mayor Tongkang Midtimbang who was suspected of keeping an arsenal of high-powered firearms in his house.

Clan head Ali Midtimbang, former Talayan mayor and father of the incumbent mayor, said on Monday they were still in the process of identifying and filing a complaint against individuals who convinced a Manila-based Regional Trial Court Judge Marino dela Cruz Jr. to issue an order for the Central Mindanao police to serve the search warrant.

Police, led by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, raided the residence of Mayor Midtimbang and a neighboring house of a village chieftain on Friday, but found no firearms.

“This is political harassment,” said Ali Midtimbang, running mate of Sultan Kudarat town mayor Tocao Mastura in the coming Maguindanao gubernatorial race.

The Mastura-Midtimbang tandem of the United Nationalist Alliance is running against the administration’s standard bearer, reelectionist Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and running mate Datu Odin Sinsuat town mayor Lester Sinsuat.

The Midtimbangs described the police raid as “suspiciously malicious” because some of the armed raiders were wearing bonnets.

A police officer, who asked not to be named, said the raiders were just complying with a court directive, and were wearing ski-masks to avoid possible retaliation from the aggrieved parties.

The Midtimbangs said the raid was meant not only to embarrass the political clan in the approach to the midterm elections.

The search warrant was intended to seize a cal. 30, an M16, an M203 and other assault rifles believed to be in the Midtimbang arsenal that raiders failed to recover.

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