PNP files raps vs BIFF members in Datu Piang attack
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed complaints for multiple frustrated murder and destructive arson against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who were behind the December 3 attack in Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
Maj. Gen. Marni Marcos Jr., chairman of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) that investigated the incident, said Monday that complaints against the group’s leaders Salahuddin Hasan and Animbang “Karialan” Indong, and 133 others have been referred to the Maguindanao Provincial Prosecutor’s Office last December 11.
Marcos added that the investigation, which also seeks to identify lapses on the part of the police, showed that there were “gaps that need further enhancement” as observed in the response of the Datu Piang Municipal Police Station personnel on the attack.
Among these are the coordination between the PNP and other government security forces on the ground in terms of timely sharing of intelligence information and movement of troops, and the capacity of the police station in terms of manpower and equipment.
He noted that the intelligence units of the PNP have monitored the plans of the BIFF to attack the town, and that the chief of police has received the intelligence report of the attack hours before the incident took place.
However, “there is a lack of appreciation in the gathered intelligence regarding the terror plans of the BIFF. No adjustment of the Datu Piang MPS personnel strength and capabilities and no strategic deployment of PNP Mobile Forces had been made,” according to Marcos.
He added that there was also a lack of coordination and intelligence validation with counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other stakeholders in the area.
Marcos further noted that the municipal police station only has 26 personnel, including four non-uniformed personnel, even if the town has around 25,600 population. He said this translates to 1:1,163 police-to-population ratio, far from the ideal 1:500.
But despite these gaps, Marcos said that the actions of police officers in Datu Piang were “very commendable” as it prevented more damages, including the burning of the Sta. Teresita Parish Church and the repulsion of the BIFF.
The BOI also presented recommendations following its investigation, including the strengthening and improvement of physical security in vital areas in the town, enhancing coordination with the military, intensifying intelligence information gathering, and providing additional logistics support to the municipal police.
The PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management will also award the police officers for their gallantry in defending the town, according to Marcos.
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