COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman on Monday condemned the fatal ambush on Saturday afternoon of the Marawi City police director.
The victim, Supt. Al Abner Wahab Santos, was killed in Luk’s-a-Datu District in Marawi City while driving his black Mitsubishi Montero en route to the city police station from a security conference in another village.
“We grieve over the murder of Marawi police chief Al Abner Wahab Santos, and condemn in the highest possible terms this heinous and cowardly act that demonstrates brutality and an utter lack of regard for the value of human life,” Hataman said.
As this developed, Supt. Sigfried Ramos, director of the Lanao del Sur police, said investigators are still trying to identify the perpetrators and the motive of the ambush.
The police are investigating the cases Santos was working on before he was killed, including a failed negotiation on firearms confiscated earlier by his men, carnapping case and the ambush of two policemen earlier this month.
Governor Hataman was scheduled to preside over a regional executive security cluster meeting on Monday in Marawi City to discuss the incident and plan out how the police, the military and local executives can address the continuing deterioration of security measures in the area.
“We cannot address these problems without the cooperation of the local communities. We need public cooperation here,” Hataman said.
Hataman said Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles of the regional police and ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, who hails from Lanao del Sur, are set to attend the security cluster meeting.
“Me and my relatives in Lanao del Sur condemn this savage attack, which is a direct affront against the Philippine National Police,” Lucman said.
It can be noted that Saturday’s ambush-slay of Santos was preceded by more than a dozen recent gun attacks in Marawi City that left more than 10 people dead, among them two popcorn vendors and a Visayan couple from North Cotabato engaged in a dry goods merchandising business.