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Ouster sought of cops in arrest of MILF leader, other blunders

/ 12:23 AM March 01, 2014

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY—The peace and order council of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is seeking the replacement of the head of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) there and his men for the Feb. 23 arrest of a senior rebel leader.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said on Friday that the resolution of the regional peace and order council was now being prepared for “the relief or replacement of these arresting officers and their direct superior, Supt. Jovit Culaway.”

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Hataman said that during the closed-door council meeting held on Thursday, which was also attended by other ranking ARMM leaders and military officials, it was agreed upon that the arrest of commander Wahid Tundok, of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) 118th Base Command, violated protocol.

He said it was done without coordination with the joint government-MILF ceasefire and peace monitoring groups.

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Hataman said that despite the claims by arresting officers that they were equipped with a court order for Tundok’s arrest for arson and other crimes, there should have been coordination with “higher authorities” because it could have jeopardized peace talks between the government and the MILF.

“This CIDG blunder is one too many,” he said, adding that CIDG agents also wrongfully seized an oil tanker of Iron Blaze Petroleum Inc., a legitimate petroleum importer based in Polloc Port in Parang town, Maguindanao province, in December last year and raided a warehouse of the United Nations World Food Program at the same port in January.

“Now comes the third CIDG blunder, arresting a top MILF commander who just attended an MILF central committee meeting in Sultan Kudarat town,” said Hataman, who did not hide his displeasure over the incident.

Tundok was heading back to his base in Maguindanao after the meeting when his vehicle was flagged down at a checkpoint.

He and several of his escorts were immediately taken into custody and were kept at the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat town “for being security risks.”

The MILF has protested the arrest, adding that Tundok was covered by immunity guarantees under the peace process.

He was eventually released on Feb. 25. Charlie C. Señase, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: ARMM, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Jovit Culaway, MILF, Mindanao peace, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, peace, Police, Wahid Tundok
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