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DND removes names of ex-Marawi mayor, vice mayor from wanted list

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana answers questions during a press briefing held in Malacanang on ceasefire between the government and the CPP,NDF,NPA. INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

DAVAO CITY—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has dropped former Marawi City Mayor Omar Solitario Ali and his son, Marawi City Vice Mayor Arafat Salic, from the list of personalities being sought in connection with the Marawi crisis.

In an order dated August 16, Lorenzana told the military, the police and other law enforcement agencies that Ali and his son had been removed from the Arrest and Seizure Orders Nos. 1 and 2.

The said orders were issued on May 29 and June 5 against personalities suspected to have links with the Maute terrorist group.

Both Ali and Arafat denied the charges.

Ali even pointed out to his being emissary to the Maute group in behalf of the government. He said he was tapped by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza to negotiate with the Maute group at the height of the fighting in Butig, Lanao del Sur last year.

Ali said he only talked with the Maute group thrice to convince them to set aside violence and peacefully negotiate with the government.

But Lorenzana had said then the government had some proof Ali might have links with the Maute group.

Ali and Arafat both went into hiding while Ali’s brother, Fahad Salic—who was also former Marawi mayor—was arrested in Misamis Oriental on charges of rebellion.

In a subsequent raid on Ali’s home in Marawi City on June 23, authorities reported the recovery of some P10 million worth of shabu. He also denied it, saying it must have been planted.

In removing Ali and Arafat from the wanted list in connection with the Marawi crisis, Lorenzana said he gave weight to the “representation” made by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

“Yes, I confirm on the representation of OPAPP Sec(retary), who vouched for the father and son,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer. JPV

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