By Tracy Cabrera
The remains of Al-Barka Mayor Darussalam Lajid arrive in his hometown for burial on Monday, following his murder in Zamboanga City earlier that day. (Photo from Facebook page of Mayor Darussalam Lajid)
MANILA — Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar has emphatically condemned yesterday’s brutal slaying of Al-Barka, Basilan mayor Darussalam Lajid who was ambushed by four gunmen while on his way to a seaside mosque with Akbar, Basilan mayor Alih Awal Sali, and Sali’s cousin Farrad Nurrudin and other escorts.
Messages expressing shock and grief filled the social media wall of the victim even as reports disclosed that Nurrudin was also slain in the attack while Sali was still in critical condition following emergency treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
Eleazar lamented Lajid’s death as most of the mayor’s constituents in Al-Barka described him as a cheerful person, approachable, and more importantly a natural leader who restored peace in what used to be a battle-scarred town in Basilan—one of the hotspot provinces of Muslim separatism and insurgency in Mindanao.
“They also described him as being fearless before the dreaded Abu Sayyaf—the mayor who cleaned his turf of banditry. He is known to be a good man and one of the few leaders able to bring other warring groups to peace,” the former PNP chief enthused as he underscored how the country needs leaders like Lajid who staunchly initiated efforts to bring peace and development for his constituency.
“Ito ang mga uri ng pinuno na ating kailangan ngayon dahil mahalaga na makamit natin ang kapayapaan sa buong bansa. Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit itinutulak ko ang isang legislative agenda na tutuon sa peace and order dahil kung wala tayong kaayusan at kapayapaan, hindi natin maiaangat ang ating bansa sa kaunlaran at katiwasayan,” he pointed out.
According to Hadji Dan Asnawie, commander of the 114th Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Al-Barka, Lajid “actively weeded our town of bad elements like the Abu Sayyaf. We owe him the peace we enjoy today.”
Arlyn Jawad Jumaoas, executive director of Save the Children of War in Mindanao, added the entire province of Basilan lost a peace lover and a humanitarian worker with Lajid’s unfortunate and untimely demise.
“He has been our active partner in humanitarian works, especially in Al-Barka. We are witnesses to his sacrifices in making Al-Barka a safe town for his people. He worked hard even during the time when there was no IRA (internal revenue allotment) for his town,” Jumaoas stressed.
Seeing Lajid as having so much in common with himself a the mayor was a retired policeman who entered politics in Al-Barka in 2013 and won the mayoralty race, Eleazar noted how the AL-Barka mayor instituted many changes in his town and made it one of the most peaceful municipalities in Basilan. But despite these peacekeeping efforts, Lajid had been targeted for assassination since he won as mayor of Al-Barka. (ai/mtvn)