Sultan Kudarat gov orders relief of Lambayong town police chief
COTABATO CITY–Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu has ordered the relief of the Lambayong police chief and police personnel involved in the operation that killed three youths in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat at the dawn hours of Dec. 2.
Mangudadatu said the relief of the police officers would pave the way for an impartial investigation which was what the family of the slain youths demanded from the government. “We assure the public and the families of the victims that we are exhausting all efforts that there will be justice,” he said. “Wala tayong kinikilingan (We are not siding with anyone),” he added.
Among those ordered relieved was Major Jenahmeel Toñacao, Lambayong town police chief, who admitted having led the operation that killed the three youths, and 14 other policemen under him. They were now restricted inside Sultan Kudarat police provincial office in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.
Earlier, the victims’ family had disputed the police’ claim that the youths–policeman’s son Horton Ansa Jr., 19; his cousin Anshad Ansa, 18 Samanoden Ali, 19–died in a shootout, saying that the youths were not armed.
Sahaboden Ali, 22, whose younger brother Samanoden, 19, was among those killed, said his brother was only out to road test his motorcycle that night as he planned to join the roadshow in town on Monday, December 5.
Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr., a police officer at Shariff Saydona Mustapha town and father of Ansa Jr., said his son had pleaded for his life in front of the police officers before he was killed.
He said a witness said his son was pleading for his life, telling the Lamabyong police officers “I am the son of a policeman, please spare me.”
Relatives of slain teenagers claimed the pistol, grenade and shabu the Lambayong police claimed to have found in their bodies, “were all planted.” “All the three boys had never been involved in any crime while living in Lambayong,” Ansa Sr. said.
The families of Ansa and Ali will hold Wednesday, Dec. 7, a “caravan for justice” in the town proper and in front of the Lambayong municipal hall to demand justice for the victims.
As the Regional Internal Affairs Services (RIAS) of the Police Regional Office in Soccsksargen commenced its probe, Regional Director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg assured the public that wrongdoings of personnel would not be tolerated.
“I assure you that all police operations and engagements are legitimately conducted and done with utmost respect for human life,” Macaraeg said. “As we perform our daily mandate of serving the community, we ensure our ranks are cleansed and all wrongdoings of all our personnel are not tolerated in order to provide the best quality of law enforcement service to the people of Soccsksargen,” he added.
Macaraeg also welcomed separate probe that may be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Col. Christopher Bermudez, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said new police forces had been deployed in Lambayong to take the place of the relieved police officers while the investigation was in progress.
Toñacao claimed the three youths on a motorbike were flagged for inspection at a checkpoint in the town’s Purok 4, Barangay Didtaras, at past midnight on Friday, Dec. 2. But they disregarded the checkpoint and sped away, prompting the police to give chase. According to the police, the motorcycle crashed somewhere in the village’s Purok Masagana, and the three youths opened fire when the lawmen approached, triggering a firefight.
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