In this file photo, police personnel secure the crime scene where Al-Barka mayor Darusalam Lajid and a driver escort were killed and Akbar mayor Alih Salih was critically wounded in an ambush at Barangay Baliwsan just two days ago. (Photo: The Star/Roel Pareño)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Reacting to the deaths of a police officer and murder suspect in a shootout that occurred recently in Lamitan City, Basilan, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and senatorial aspirant Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar took the incident as an opportunity to reiterate the reason why he wants to focus on a legislative agenda that targets enhancing peace and order in the country.
In the latest reports coming from Basilan, the shootout is said to have ensued when law enforcers served on Tuesday afternoon, December 7, a warrant for murder issued by Isabela City Regional Trial Court Branch 2 acting presiding judge Grace Tillah for the arrest of Jerry Omar Harayin, also known as Borhan Harayin.
According to Brigadier General Domingo Gobway, commander of the Army’s Joint Task Force Basilan, Harayin was inside his residence in Barangay Baas in Lamitan City when members of the Special Action Force (SAF) led by Major Samuel Mangetag Jr. arrived to serve the arrest warrant. However, on sensing the presence of the law enforcers, the fugitive without warning opened fire at them, triggering a shootout.
A SAF member, identified as Corporal Nizar Alijam, was also injured during the incident but later died while undergoing medical treatment, Gobway added. Likewise a 15-year-old boy was wounded in the crossfire and is now recovering at a hospital in the city.
Lamenting the unfortunate death of Alijam, Eleazar stressed the importance of maintaining peace and order not only in urbanized centers like Metro Manila but in the countryside and remote areas as well, noting out that it would be very difficult for us to attain the economic stability that everyone wants without really protecting and securing the public and the whole country from lawless elements and illegal activities.
“Sapat nang dahilan ang mga pangyayaring ganito sa Lamitan para makita nating ang halaga ng pagkakaroon ng kapayapaan at kaayusan sa ating bansa. Hindi natin makakamit ang kaunlaran at katiwasayan kung may kaguluhan sa atin kaya dapat nating pagtuunan ng pansin ito,” the 26th PNP chief pointed out.
In an interview, Basilan Police Provincial Mobile Force Company commander Lieutenant Colonel John Cundo disclosed that Harayin had been involved in several murder cases, including that of his uncle and cousin, and to escape accountability, the fugitive sought refuge in a community of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), changing his first name to Borhan.
Seized from Harayin’s possession after Tuesday’s operation was an identification card that indicated he was an active member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the MILF armed wing that is in the process of being decommissioned.
In ending, Cundo clarified that the 15-year-old boy caught in the middle of the shootout was not a bystander but was actually Harayin’s driver. (ai/mtvn)