Datu Naga Mangudadatu. (Photo from Datu Naga’s Facebook Page)

TACURONG CITY – Police authorities in Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat, have launched a manhunt against gunmen who shot dead the son of Mayor Datu Pax Mangudadatu on Tuesday night.

Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, Sultan Kudarat deputy police director for operations, said police forces in Lutayan and nearby areas were also placed on heightened alert to prevent the escalation of hostilities.

This came after Datu Naga Mangudadatu, son of Datu Pax, former congressman and governor of Sultan Kudarat and now mayor of Lutayan, was killed by still unidentified gunmen.

Datu Naga, who ran and lost in his vice mayoralty bid in nearby Mangudadatu town in Maguindanao del Sur in last May’s local elections, was in front of his business establishment at the Lutayan town market when the armed men arrived on a pickup truck.

His employee, Dennis Hadji Daup, 25, a resident of Barangay Paitan, Mangudadatu town, was also killed.

Datu Naga was declared dead on arrival at a hospital in Koronadal City, while Daup expired while undergoing medication.

Capt. Leonel Delasan, Lutayan town police chief, said two others, including an 11-year-old boy, were injured in the 6:30 p.m. gun attack.  

Datu Naga is the younger brother of former Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu.

Capellan said police investigators found empty shells for M16 and M14 rifles at the crime scene.

“We are still investigating, we have no specific lead yet whether this is politically or business-related,” Capellan said.

The Mangudadatu family is yet to issue a statement on the incident. (PNA)