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North Cotabato police chief relieved over Kidapawan violence

/ 06:29 PM April 07, 2016

MANILA — The provincial police chief of North Cotabato was relieved from his post after the bloody dispersal of farmers last week in Kidapawan City, which left three people dead and scores injured.

Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez ordered the removal of Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum from his post as provincial police director, almost a week after the protest.

He was replaced by Senior Supt. Jose Briones Jr., the regional chief of the directorial staff of the Soccsksargen police regional office.

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“It’s quite routine that we relieve commanders pending the results of the investigation. I issued a directive to relieve Tagum effective Wednesday,” Marquez said.

Tagum was the ground commander of the police team that cleared a national highway in Kidapawan City of protesting farmers who wanted aid because of the severe drought that destroyed their crops.

The PNP chief said the relief was a matter of procedure, after the PNP confirmed that some policemen deployed in the area fired their guns, wounding and killing some protesters.

“There is already an acknowledgment that some personnel deployed in the law enforcement operation fired their weapons,” Marquez said.

He added that the PNP has been waiting for the results of the investigation to find out the policemen’s reasons for using their firearms.

Earlier, the PNP sent a fact-finding team tasked to investigate the bloody dispersal in Kidapawan City. The team is led by Director Isagani Nerez, the chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao.

Other members of the team are Senior Supt. Felix Servita, Senior Supt. Daniel Macatlang, Supt. Rainiero de Chavez and Supt. Danilo Macerin.  SFM

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