DAVAO CITY -- A Maguindanao official and two of his security escorts who figured in Thursday’s shooting incident inside a shopping mall in this city were charged with murder Friday.

Accused before the City Prosecutor’s Office are Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael Mangudadatu, PO1 Surab Lintukan Bantas, and PO1 Ibrahem Mangudadatu Langalen for the death of Tamano Kagi Kamendan, an alleged supporter of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

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Bantas and Langalen were brought to the City Prosecutor’s Office, where they undergone paraffin test Friday.

The case stemmed from a murder complaint filed by Natividad de Arce Kamendan, 32, a resident of Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao and wife of Tamano, who was allegedly shot to death by Mangudadatu’s security details inside JS Gaisano South Citimall around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

In an affidavit, Natividad said she and Tamano were at the fourth floor of Gaisano South mall in Ilustre Street to buy some clothing for their children when they met Mangudadatu.

She said Mangudadatu asked her husband in Maguindanaoan dialect where was his boss, in which the victim replied, "No get ren da ako lo (I am no longer going there)."

The Buluan vice mayor then asked where they were staying, and Tamano replied that they live in his wife’s aunt in Toril.

Natividad further said that when her husband asked to be excused, Mangudadatu ordered his escort to shoot Tamano, who then ran away and was chased by one of the vice mayor’s companions.

Natividad said that she shouted to her husband not to run, but saw the man chasing him draw out a hand gun and then she heard a shot. She added that she, with several sales girls, rushed to a stock room to hide as more gunshots rang out.

She said she only went out after about 15 minutes and saw several policemen in the area. It was then that she knew her husband was already dead.

Natividad, in an interview after inquest proceeding Friday, appealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to give attention to her husband’s case.

"Sana pagtuunan nyo nang pansin ang asawa ko. Sana maging fair kayo," she said.

She said public sympathy for the Mangudadatus has apparently gone to the vice mayor's head and thus believes he has a license to be above the law.

Natividad was cursing Mangudadatu during the interview.

She thanked City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for assuring her security and the sales girls who hid her in the stock room.

Inquest prosecutor Jofre Saniel gave the respondents 10 days to file their counter-affidavits after Mangudadatu’s camp asked for a preliminary investigation.

In his affidavit, SPO2 Kelvin Joy Magno of the San Pedro Police, who was among the policemen who arrived at the scene right after the shooting, said that when he reached the fourth floor of the mall, he saw two uniformed policemen being held by PO3 Alvino Tagoy and Vice Mayor Mangudadatu.

When he asked what happened, Bantas told him that Kamendan tried to grab his gun and thus was forced to shoot to defend himself.

Bantas and Langalen surrendered their firearms; a caliber .45mm handgun, a caliber 9mm handgun and magazines with ammunition.

A shopper, who was on the fourth floor at that time, said she first heard gunshots before seeing a barefoot man, looking scared, running toward her direction.

More gunshots followed, she said, adding that she dropped to the floor just as another man, this time with a handgun, was running toward her direction again and taking aim at the unshod man.

The victim, she said, fell right beside her but did not dare look at the gunman. She crawled away as fast as she can amid more gunshots.

In the version of the police report, Kamendan was said to have tried to grab the 11-year-old daughter of Mangudadatu at the fourth floor of the Gaisano South Mall's children's wear section. Mangudadatu's two uniformed bodyguards chased and grappled with the suspect, who in turn tried to grab the firearms of the bodyguards.

It was learned that Mangudadatu was with his daughters shopping at the mall for his Valentine's gift to his children.

Natividad, however, denied reports that her husband tried to kidnap Mangudadatu's 11-year-old daughter, adding that there was also no grappling of gun between her husband and Bantas.

She also belied reports that she was not in the same floor with her husband when the incident occurred.

Natividad’s husband sustained five gunshot wounds in different parts of his body. He died on the spot.

Tamano was identified by the Mangudadatus as one of those involved in the November 23 Maguindanao massacre where the vice mayor's wife and several other relatives were among the 57 victims.

As of Friday, police investigators of the San Pedro Police Precinct are still assessing the conflicting testimonies of the parties involved. (RMH/BOT/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)