Cotabato City mayor, 6 charged for 2012 ambush on ex-city vice mayor
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The lawyers of former city vice mayor Muslimin Sema filed on Tuesday, frustrated and attempted murder charges against Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. and six others for the 2012 ambush that led to the wounding of Sema.
The charges against Guiani; his sister and city administrator Frances Cynthia Sayadi and her husband, Umbra; city councilor Graham Nazer Dumama; Association of Barangay Captains president Abdilla Lim; Rosary Heights 5 village chief Amil Sula; and Insp. Noel Gutierrez of the city police force, were filed at the Regional Trial Court here.
The filing came after a panel of prosecutors formed by the Department of Justice found “probable cause” to charge the officials in connection with the Jan. 10, 2012 ambush on Sema.
The DOJ resolution was signed by Prosecutors Vivar Barcellano, Gerard Gaerlan, and Jayvee Lawrence Bandong and endorsed by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
Sema, who barely survived the ambush, which also saw the death of a suspect, said he felt vindicated by the DOJ resolution as it put to rest claims it was an “ambush me” scenario.
“Some detractors insinuated that the attack was stage-managed since it happened in broad daylight just a few blocks away from my residence along Gonzalo Javier Street,” he said.
Guiani consistently denied any involvement in the slay try on his former vice mayor but admitted that they had “political differences.”
When Sema was mayor from 2001 to 2007, Guiani was his vice mayor.
In 2013, Guani defeated Sema in the mayoral elections.
Guani described the political animosity between him and Sema as “in the level of statesmen” and that he never resorted to violence.
Instead, he said that his sister had been subjected to acts of violence that proved there were attempts to kill both of them. He cited the August 2013 bombing here that killed eight people and left 40 others wounded.
Guiani said it was fortunate that Sayadi was on a bullet-proof SUV when the bomb went off near the ARMM Compound here as she was passing through. One of those killed was her motorcycle-riding bodyguard.
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