Latest Stories

Zamboanga City police chief freed

But he’s not sure if he was hostage or negotiator


ZAMBOANGA CITY—Just as more hostages regained their freedom, it was reported that armed followers of Nur Misuari seized no less than the city’s police chief and his two police escorts in an encounter in Barangay Mampang here on Tuesday morning.

Shortly after 6 p.m., however, Senior Supt. Jose Chiquito Malayo, the Zamboanga City police chief, was freed under still unexplained circumstances.

But it turned out he was not kidnapped at all.

Interviewed by the Inquirer, Malayo said he was not sure if he was a negotiator or a hostage. What he was certain of, he said, was that the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) group led by Usong Uggong was trapped in a mangrove area in Mampang.

“I went there, spoke to them, and they told me they wanted to go back to Basilan,” he said. Uggong claimed that his group never joined in the nine-day crisis.

“The group of Usong Uggong never took part in the siege of Zamboanga. When they entered Zamboanga and discovered there was fighting they started moving back and they were trapped in a mangrove. I took the opportunity to talk to them,” Malayo told the Inquirer.

“At first nagkatutukan kami (pointing gun at each other) but sensing their situation, I tried to convince them and assured them their rights will be respected.”

“They told me they wanted to return to Basilan and I assured them we will do our best for as long as they didn’t join Misuari.”

Rebels surrender

Malayo waved and smiled at the Inquirer from a passing mini-bus. He was with at least 23 MNLF rebels, who reportedly surrendered.

The police officer was able to convince the rebels to surrender, Armed Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said last night.

The police chief’s capture earlier that day was confirmed by Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, logistics officer of the regional police in Western Mindanao. “He is alive. We have spoken to him over radio communication,” De Ocampo told the Inquirer.

Ninety-nine people have died and 70,000 residents have been displaced in more than a week of clashes between government forces and the MNLF members. This included 86 rebels, nine security forces and four civilians.

Misuari, 71, has been angered by a planned peace deal between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rival group with 12,000 gunmen, as he believes it would sideline his organization.

Three soldiers and 30 MNLF rebels were killed during heavy fighting over the past 24 hours, Zagala said.

Still trapped

“But when you compare the loss of three lives of soldiers doing their mission to the 124 hostages who were rescued, I believe they did not die in vain. They gave their lives to rescue these 124 hostages,” he said.

Hundreds of other civilians remain trapped as the rebels sought shelter in the seaside villages, with the military saying they were using residents as hostages or human shields.

“Encounter here in Mampang,” was Malayo’s last text message to the Inquirer from Sitio (settlement) Bilang-Bilang in the coastal village. An earlier text message sent around 9:18 a.m. said, “Napasabak kami (We have figured in an encounter).”

Malayo was directed by his superiors to assess the situation at Arena Blanco in Mampang.

“The headquarters issued general guidelines to ground commanders and gave them a free hand to assess the situation, so Malayo saw there was hope talking with the MNLF and he went to their area with this confidence that he will not be taken,” said Chief Supt. Felipe Rojas, police director general for operations.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that before the incident, Chief Supt. Juanito Vano, the regional police director, went to Mampang and talked to Malayo.

Roxas said that after an earlier fighting in the area, Malayo went to an MNLF position “in the course of resolving the situation peacefully.” The officer was confident because 400 police personnel were in the area where 20 MNLF men were holed up in a mangrove area.

“There, he was held hostage,” he said.

Lawyer Emmanuel Fontanilla, spokesman of the MNLF’s Misuari faction, confirmed to the Inquirer by phone that its “ground forces” were holding Malayo and his police escorts as “prisoners of war.”

Fontanilla refused to disclose the location of the rebels holding Malayo, but said “the cops were transferred to a safe place to ensure their security and rights as guaranteed by the Geneva Convention and the International Humanitarian Law.”

“Pursuit operations are now ongoing with the Air Force conducting reconnaissance,” Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, head of the military’s 7th Civil Relations Group (CRG), told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

The MNLF men dragged Malayo and his escorts to a speedboat and fled to nearby Tictabon Island, Cabunoc said. “Only mangroves separate the mainland from that island,” he said.

Renewed gunfire

As of 3 p.m., bursts of gunfire could still be heard in Mampang as hundreds of residents again hurriedly left their homes. Most of them had just returned from the sports complex where they had been staying for days.

“We thought our sacrifices had come to an end. When we went back yesterday because the village was declared cleared, gunfire erupted again. When will this stop?” a fleeing resident told the Inquirer.

The military said on Tuesday that a sustained offensive, which began on Friday and included helicopter rocket attacks, was proving a success. Zagala said soldiers had taken back over 70 percent of areas held by the MNLF forces.

However, Zagala said about 100 MNLF fighters were still engaged in clashes, and it remained unclear how many were still trapped or being held hostage.—With reports from and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao; Nikko Dizon in Manila; and AFP



Zamboanga City top cop freed; 20 MNLF rebels yield

Zamboanga police chief not abducted – PNP official

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Jose Chiquito Malayo , Moro National Liberation Front , Philippines - Regions , Zamboanga attack , Zamboanga City

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Roxas on suspension: I’m not above the law
  • Singaporean fined nearly $8,000 for animal cruelty
  • Pope in hot water over ‘personal’ phone calls
  • Foreign food aid drying up in North Korea
  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace