AFP: MNLF leader's son may have helped Davao City bombers

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2017 08:23 PM

Police investigators inspect the area of a market where an explosion happened in Davao City. Lean Daval Jr., Reuters/File photo

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said the son of two Mindanao political leaders recently arrested in Malaysia over the September bombing in Davao City may have provided logistics to the group behind the terror attack.

VERA Files earlier reported that Datu Mohammad Abduljabbar Sema, a son of former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema and Maguindanao lawmaker Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, was arrested on Nov. 24 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon his arrival from Bangkok.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech over the weekend, also confirmed the arrest of the two political leaders’ son.

Duterte, however, did not elaborate on the alleged involvement of the young Sema, reportedly an Islamic scholar, in the Davao blast.

The legal basis for Sema’s detention by Malaysian authorities also remains unclear but Duterte, in his speech before the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the close security cooperation between the Philippines and Malaysia.

Sources told ABS-CBN News the younger Sema was identified by the members of the Maute Group who were previously arrested for their alleged involvement in the Davao City bombing that killed 15 people.

AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Sema provided logistics to the Maute Group, but it is unclear whether the former was a Maute Group member or operating independently.
Padilla refused to comment on how the arrest of Sema will change the dynamics of the ongoing government peace efforts in Mindanao.

The Muslimin Sema faction of the Moro National Liberation Front is expected to be given 2 to 3 slots in the 21-seat Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is tasked to draft an enabling law that will establish and operationalize the envisioned Bangsamoro political entity. - with reports from VERA Files