Escort dies, Maguindanao vice mayoral aspirant unhurt in ambush

DATU SAUDI AMPATUAN, Maguindanao – Unidentified gunmen riding in tandem on a motorbike ambushed Wednesday a vice mayoral aspirant for Maguindanao town while traveling along the national highway here.

Col. Jibin Bongcayao, Maguindanao police provincial director, said Sam Zailon Esmael, who was seated in the passenger seat of a silver Toyota pickup vehicle, escaped unhurt but one of his armed escorts was killed.

The escort who has yet to be identified was seated at the cargo bed section of the pickup truck died on the spot.

“We have yet to verify the identity of the fatality from the Esmael family,” Bongcayao said, adding that investigation on the incident is ongoing.

Initial investigation conducted by the Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipal police office said one of the two suspects on board a motorcycle opened fire on the victims along the Crossing Salbu-Dapiawan highway around noontime.

“A manhunt is underway against the attackers,” Bongcayao said.

Esmael was eyeing the vice mayoral post of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao although he has yet to file his certificate of candidacy. In 2019, Esmael ran for mayor of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao but lost. His electoral protest remained unsolved to date. (PNA)


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