BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan strongly condemned the brutal broad daylight murder of an influential Muslim religious leader in the city, saying that it is unfortunate that the said incident happened in one of the busiest areas in the city.
The local chief executive expressed the deepest sympathy and condolences of the people and officialdom of Baguio city to the bereaved family of Imam Bedejim Abdullah and the whole Muslim community in the city on his untimely demise that was perpetrated by lawless elements who simply want to taint the good peace and order situation of the city.
“We call on the witnesses to the incident to help our local police force identify the gunman and the mastermind in the brutal murder of a well-loved Muslim leader who sacrificed his time, effort and resources to make us feel the presence of Muslims in our city,” Domogan stressed.
He claimed that Abdullah’s death will be a big loss for the Muslim community because he was able to bridge the gap between the Muslims and the Christians in the city by conducting numerous lecture series inculcating to the minds of the people the teachings of the Islam religion.
The Baguio City Police office (BCPO) created a Special Investigation Task Force which shall take charge of the investigation on the broad daylight murder incident where the victim was one of the respected Muslim religious leaders in the city.
Abdullah was shot to death by a still unidentified gun-wielding suspect while he was on his way to his office along the junction of Kayang and Chugum Sts. Shortly before lunch Thursday.
Chief Inspector Eddie Bagto, commander of BCPO Station No. 7, described the shooting incident to be planned because after the victim fell on the ground during the first burst of gun fire, the suspect went near him and fired at him several times at close range before fleeing towards the Maharlika Livelihood Center.
The police official claimed that while fleeing from the crime scene, the suspect’s firearm fell on the ground that caused it to fire off hitting an innocent sales lady in the area who was also rushed to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) for medical treatment.
Abdullah served as a Muslim cleric at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and is a preacher at the Discover Islam Baguio, a religious school and the vice chairman of the Multi-sectoral Regional Advisory Council of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera.
Previously, he denounced all forms of extremism, especially those intending to bring extremism to the city.
The Muslim religious leader sustained two gunshot wounds on his head and three gunshot wounds on his body that caused his instantaneous death.
Abdullah was also a nature enthusiast who organized numerous biking, running and other similar events to help empower residents and visitors alike to value the importance of actively participating in efforts to preserve and protect the city’s environment.
Bagto said probers are reviewing the recordings of various closed circuit television cameras on the suspect’s escape route to help them provide a leader for his eventual identification.
By Dexter A. See