Shootout or rubout
Relatives of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom are seeking an independent investigation of Friday’s alleged gun battle on a national highway in Makilala, North Cotabato province, that left him and nine of his men dead.
Most of the dead were shot in the head in a possible rubout, relatives said, disputing the police account of a shootout.
Relying solely on the investigation by the police scene of the crime operatives would not bring out the truth, they added.
Police officials, however, maintained that the killings were an offshoot of a legitimate antinarcotics operation. They said Dimaukom’s group fired at the policemen at a checkpoint, prompting the lawmen to fire back in self-defense.
Nur Hafizullah Abdullah, interior secretary for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the relatives could later ask for a reinvestigation if they doubted the official police findings.
Contrary to police claims that Dimaukom’s group was transporting illegal drugs from Davao City to Cotabato aboard three vehicles when they were flagged at a checkpoint, only 13 sachets of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) were recovered from the vehicles.
Also seized were six firearms.
Dimaukom and his wife Anida had turned themselves in to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa after he was publicly named by President Duterte as among more than 150 public officials involved in the illegal drug trade.
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