COTABATO CITY, Feb. 25 — Some 5,000 supporters of Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema on Saturday held a grand "Kanduli" (thanksgiving) party to thank the Almighty that he survived an ambush on January 10 and fully recovered.
The supporters, mostly relatives and friends of members of the Moro National Liberation Front, offered prayers for the speedy resolution of the charges filed against the suspects.
Kanduli is a tradition Muslims practice to thank God for the blessings and celebrate the success of an individual, a family or a community.
Sema was heading for home on January 10 when two men riding in tandem on a motorbike opened fire on his Mitsubishi Montero vehicle.
Sema, who also chairs a faction of the MNLF, was hit on the right side of his face and damaged his lower jaw.
"I am fully recovered now, I can jog, I can play tennis now," he told reporters.
His wife, Rep. Bai Sandra Sema of Maguindanao's first district and Cotabato City, said the family was very appreciative of the concerns expressed by political allies, family friends and associates.
"We thank you for your prayer for the speedy recovery of Vice Mayor Sema, let's continue praying for justice," Rep. Sema said, addressing the crowd. "We thank Allah for the vice mayor's second lease of life."
Sema's alleged gunman, Zermin Abdullah, was shot and critically wounded by the vice mayor's escorts. He later died in the hospital.
Rep. Sema lauded the Department of Justice for promptly acting on the case, created a special panel of prosecutors and called for a preliminary investigation.
The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, which claimed the ambush was politically motivated, has filed frustrated murder against Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr, his sister Lawyer Cynthia Guiani Sayadi, her husband Omar, Cotabato City Councilors Nasser Dumama and Abdila Lim, village chair Amil Sula and Police Insp. Noel Gutierrez.
Mayor Guiani vehemently denied involvement in the attempt of Vice Mayor Sema, a distant relative.
He said he has a lot of things to attend to in the city government than to plot to kill the vice mayor.
Sayadi said those charged were victim's of malicious attempts to discredit the family and vowed to clear their name before the bar of justice.
The Kanduli was held at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College gymnasium Saturday morning. (PNA)