Task force formed on BARMM killings | Inquirer News

Task force formed on BARMM killings

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza—photo from Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Facebook page

COTABATO CITY—The police in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have formed a special task force to investigate the killings of elected government officials in the region since January.

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, BARMM police director, said their records showed that at least 13 elected officials were gunned down from January to April 17 this year.

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Of the 13, seven were attacked in Maguindanao, two in Lanao del Sur, and one each in Cotabato City and the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

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Among the victims were village chiefs, village council members and the latest, Demson Silongan, a municipal councilor of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao del Sur.

Nobleza said the special task force would focus on the cases of violence against elected officials.

“The police regional office has been relentless in its efforts to solve these cases that justice may be served,” Nobleza said.

According to him, cases were already filed before the courts in six incidents but the suspects remain at large.

Of the 13, only one was solved, meaning suspects were arrested and a case was filed in court. Six other cases are still undergoing investigation, Nobleza said.

Security measures

As the police prepare for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections later this year, Nobleza has directed local police units to intensify law enforcement efforts and to strictly enforce security measures.

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“Increase intelligence gathering, tighten up monitoring of political hot spots and set up more checkpoints to deter lawless elements from engaging in all forms of criminality,” Nobleza said of the measures that his office would implement to ensure peace and order.

The BARMM police oversee law enforcement in Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and in 63 villages of Cotabato province comprising the Special Geographic Area which has been rocked by violence traced to land disputes.

Nobleza said the police had conducted threat assessment on all local officials in the region after the series of attacks against officials like Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr.; Mayor Ohto Montawal of Datu Montawal, Maguindanao del Sur; and Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo. Adiong and Montawal were wounded in the separate attacks in Maguing, Lanao del Sur, and Pasay City, respectively, in February while Degamo and eight others were killed in a March 4 assault at the governor’s family compound in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

Nobleza also announced the activation of Special Investigation Task Group Silongan to look into the shooting of Councilor Silongan in Barangay Pagatin, Datu Salibo, on April 17.

Silongan, 50, just arrived at the Sangguniang Bayan building to attend the 9 a.m. regular session when he was attacked around 8:30 a.m., said Rex Torino, Datu Salibo information officer.

Maj. Roldan Kuntong, Datu Salibo police chief, said a gunman approached Silongan and shot him after he stepped out of his vehicle. His driver, Jam Madzig, was wounded.

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The suspect fled on a motorcycle driven by a companion, Kuntong said.

TAGS: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, BARMM killings

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