Slain mayor among Maguindanao pols on drug list
MAKILALA, NORTH COTABATO—Outside Collado Funeral Home here, an ambulance marked “Serbisyong Pampubliko ni Hon. Samsudin Dimaukom” waited.
It was waiting for the body of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, who was killed by narcotics agents in a shootout in Barangay Old Bulatukan here early on Friday.
Nine others, including five of Dimaukom’s bodyguards, were killed in the exchange of fire.
Dimaukom’s relatives refused to answer questions from journalists.
“Please respect our privacy. I know it already proliferated on social [media], but please give us privacy,” an unidentified relative said.
In August, President Duterte publicly linked Dimaukom and his wife Anida, vice mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, and more than 150 other former and current government officials and high-ranking military and police officials to illegal drugs.
The couple surrendered, but no charges were brought against them.
On Sept. 27, police raided Dimaukom’s house for drugs and weapons, but found nothing.
After Friday morning’s exchange of fire, narcotics agents found 13 sachets of methamphetamine in the vehicles used by Dimaukom and his men.
Also recovered were their weapons.
Barangay official killed
Dimaukom was not the only Maguindanao politician linked by Mr. Duterte to drugs.
The President also named Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan town, Mayor Montasir Sabal of Talitay, Mayor Vicman Montawal of Datu Montawal, Mayor Norodin Salasal of Datu Salibo, Vice Mayor Abdulwahid Sabal of Talitay and Vice Mayor Oto Montawal of Datu Montawal.
On Thursday night, another public official suspected of drug links was killed in an exchange of fire with police in Rosario, Agusan del Sur province.
Chief Insp. Bonifacio Estrella Jr., Rosario police chief, identified the slain suspect as Barangay 3 Councilor Potifar Canonigo.
Canonigo, 56, was chair of the peace and order committee of the village council.
Exchange of fire
Estrella said officers from the Provincial Public Safety Company and from the local police were serving a search warrant on Canonigo at his house, but the barangay official refused a search and engaged the law enforcers.
After the exchange of fire, officers found two sachets of methamphetamine on Canonigo and recovered his guns—a .38-caliber revolver and a Magnum .357 revolver.
Estrella said police had warned Canonigo several times, but the barangay official continued selling methamphetamine.
He said Canonigo’s house also served as a drug den.