Cops’ ambush-slay can affect PNP, MILF peace deal | Inquirer News
Azurin: No permission needed to enter BARMM

Cops’ ambush-slay can affect PNP, MILF peace deal

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:02 AM September 01, 2022
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. STORY:

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The ongoing peace process between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) may be compromised, following the ambush of a police team serving warrants of arrest to criminals in Maguindanao province.

At a briefing in Malacañang, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin revealed that officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), composed mostly of former MILF commanders, blamed the police for the ambush for not asking permission first before serving the warrants in a Bangsamoro territory. The incident happened at a time when former MILF rebels were being mainstreamed and prepared to join the PNP as part of the peace process in Muslim Mindanao.

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“Apparently there is a report that the area that our police team entered was an MILF territory. And they’re telling us that the police and the military should have sought permission before entering the area,” Azurin said, saying he was informed about it during his talk with Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu.

“On my own, I really question that, because there is only one PNP, one [Armed Forces of the Philippines], and we adhere to serve all our ‘kababayans.’ Why do we have to impede our law enforcers from doing their jobs?” he added.

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Azurin opposed the idea of the law enforcers informing MILF officials beforehand, some of whom are already part of the Bangsamoro government, saying it might compromise their operations.

“If we need to get the consent of the officials in each of the police operations that we will conduct, what is the probability that the wanted persons we are pursuing will be arrested, especially if they know these persons?” he said. “Rather, they should be helping us in going after these criminals.”

‘Show sincerity’

According to Azurin, he already told Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos that the national government should demand the MILF “to show sincerity” in the ongoing peace process, noting that some of them “seems to be uncooperative.”

“If they really want peace, they should surrender all those they know who have pending warrants of arrest. After that, they negotiate with the government that they be given amnesty. Otherwise, they are considered wanted by authorities forever,” the PNP chief said.

A police team was on their way to Barangay Kapinpilan in Ampatuan town around 10 a.m. on Tuesday to serve an arrest warrant on Kamir Kambal, who is wanted for robbery and intimidation of persons, when they were waylaid by an armed group of six men.

It was part of the BARMM police’s “one-time, big-time” operation to serve its more than 3,000 warrants of arrest in the region.

While the PNP chief said the area was an MILF territory, he did not confirm if the suspects were affiliated with the MILF or the breakaway group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

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Lt. Reynaldo Samson, the Ampatuan police chief, and his security aide and driver Cpl. Salipudin Endab, died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds. Samson’s remains will be returned to his home in Muntinlupa City.

Wounded in the attack were MSgt. Renante Quinalayo, and Corporals Rogelio dela Cuesta Jr. and Marc Clint Dayaday. All three were already in stable condition as of Wednesday.

Heroism of Medal

Abalos and Azurin on Wednesday conferred the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (PNP Heroism Medal) to the five police officers, for their “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”

The PNP said they were still pursuing at least six gunmen behind the ambush led by a certain Abdulnasser Saptula Guianid.

The regional police forces of the BARMM and the central Mindanao region of Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) were also engaged in hot pursuit operations to intercept the gunmen.

On Tuesday after the ambush, Maguindanao police provincial director Col. Christopher Panapan was relieved from his post and replaced by Col. Roel Rullan Sermese from the Police Regional Office in the Soccsksargen.

The ambush took place two weeks after the Commission on Elections implemented a gun ban throughout Maguindanao on Aug. 16, ahead of the Sept. 17 plebiscite that would determine if the province would be split into two.

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TAGS: Maguindanao ambush, PH-MILF peace deal, Phil‎ippine National Police, Reynaldo Samson, Rodolfo Azurin
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