KIDAPAWAN CITY: Marawi City mayor and gubernatorial candidate Fahad “Pre” Salic and his driver were wounded when unidentified gunmen attacked them in Cagayan de Oro City early Saturday morning.
Investigators said Salic sustained gunshot wounds in the hip, right leg and in the back, while his driver – Tayrudim Bunting – also sustained gunshot wounds.
They were brought to the Polymedic Medical Plaza hospital for treatment and declared safe, according to the mayor’s close associate.
Salic, who is running for governor of Lanao del Sur, is married to United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Alma Moreno.
The daring attack occurred at about 2 a.m. along Mastersons Avenue near the gate of Pryce Plaza Hotel while the victims were on their way home to Marawi City aboard a red Ford Ranger.
Their attackers, about seven armed men, escaped onboard a white van after the shooting.
Recovered from the crime scene were empty shells fired from M16 and AK47 rifles.
Police are tracking down the suspects.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack but authorities are eyeing rido or clan feud behind the attack.
Meanwhile, UNA condemned the ambush of Salic and his driver as it reiterated its call on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to tighten security as the May 9 elections nears.
“Walang duda na ang tangkang pagpaslang kay Marawi Mayor Pre Salic ay may kaugnayan sa politika. Bagama’t nagpapasalamat kami na nasa maayos nang kalagayan si Mayor, patuloy pa rin kaming nananawagan sa Comelec at PNP na paigtingin ang seguridad ngayong papalapit na ang eleksyon (No doubt that the attempt to kill Marawi Mayor Pre Salic has something to do with politics. While we are thankful that he is now in stable condition, we continue to call on the Comelec and PNP to tighten the security now that the elections is nearing,” UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said.
With 30 days left before the elections, UNA also called on the Comelec to urge local candidates into signing peace covenants with each other to at least dissipate the growing tension in the provinces particularly in “hot spot” areas identified by the PNP and the military.
“Kami po sa UNA ay lubos na nababahala sa sunod-sunod na mga karahasan na nangyayari lalo na sa aming mga taga-suporta. Sa loob ng dalawang linggo, dalawang insidente po ng pananambang ang nangyari—una po ay ang pagtangka sa buhay ni Calauan, Laguna Mayor George Berris at ngayon naman po ay si Marawi Mayor Pre Salic. Sana po ay seryosohin ng Comelec ang pagkakaroon ng peace covenants sa mga probinya (We in UNA are truly concerned with the series of violence, especially on our supporters. Within two weeks, two ambush incidents occurred – first on the life of Calauan, Laguna Mayor George Berris, and now on Mayor Pre Salic),” Ilagan added.
On April 2, UNA youth leader Emmanuel Peña of Calauan was killed when unidentified armed men attacked the vehicle of Berris where he was also onboard.
Peña is the fourth UNA member killed since the start of the campaign, following the assassination of Santo Tomas, Batangas councilor Damasino Mabilangan Jr., former Pangutaran, Sulu mayor Ahmad Nanoh and former Banisilan, North Cotabato mayor Floro Allado.
According to Ilagan, political violence has claimed the lives of many supporters of Vice President Jejomar Binay.