Ex-vice mayor recruiting ''armed civilians'' which PNP classify as private armed groups
Former Vice Mayor Pando Mudjasan of Maimbung, Sulu is recruiting ''armed civilians'' which police classify as private army groups (PAG) that could be used in the coming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
“Through a joint law enforcement operation of the PNP and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), we were able to monitor that he was recruiting armed civilians which we classify as potential private armed groups, whom we believe could be used in the coming barangay and SK elections. That’s why we intensified our operations,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a televised interview.
“In fact, aside from his (Mudjasan) standing warrants of arrest, we have two search warrants which we were supposed to implement because we received information that they are armed with high-caliber firearms and explosives,” she added.
Citing a report from the Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Regin (PRO BAR), Fajardo said that Mudjasan had around 50 members of his PAG whom the PNP and AFP clashed with on Saturday as they tried to serve arrest and search warrants.
“Based on the information we got from our personnel on the ground, during the past firefight, five members of their group were killed and several others were injured,” she said.
Mudjasan was formerly a member of the Muslim separatist group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) but was disowned by them in 2017 because he was involved in murder cases, said Fajardo.
“During our previous operation we were supposed to serve five warrants of arrest against him on the cases of murder, frustrated murder, and double murder,” Fajardo said.
Fajardo also said she received a report from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) that town residents who were affected by the firefight and asked to evacuate were allowed to return to their homes after the PNP’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) had cleared the Maimbung, Sulu area. Jaspearl Tan/DMS