21 cops linked to Maguindanao massacre dismissed; 11 others suspended
After five years of deliberations by the National Police Commission, 21 of 62 police officers linked to the Maguindanao massacre—including the provincial police director at the time of the 2009 killing—have been dismissed for grave misconduct.
In 2009, the families of the massacre victims sought the dismissal of the 62 policemen involved in the gruesome murder of 58 individuals in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.
Allegedly on the orders of Andal Ampatuan Sr., 58 people in the convoy were mutilated and killed on Nov. 23, 2009, involving at least 100 armed men, most of whom were policemen and members of the Ampatuan clan’s private armed group.
The Napolcom found the officers to have conspired with the Ampatuans when they stopped the convoy of journalists, lawyers, and civilians, including the relatives and wife of Maguindanao Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, from filing a certificate of candidacy on his behalf.
Dismissed from the Philippine National Police were former Maguindanao Provincial Police director Supt. Abusama Mundas Maguid, then deputy provincial director Chief Insp. Zukarno Adil Dicay, Insp. Rex Ariel Tabao Diongon, Insp. Michael Joy Ines Macaraeg, SPO2 Badawi Piang Bakal, SPO1 Edurdo Hermo Ong, PO3 Rashid Tolentino Anton, PO3 Felix Escala Enate, PO3 Abidudin Sambuay Abdulgani, PO3 Hamad Michael Nana, PO2 Saudiar Ubo Ulah, PO2 Saudi Pompong Pasutan, PO1 Herich Manisi Amaba, PO1 Michael Juanitas Madsig, PO1 Abdullah Samma Baguadatu, PO1 Pia Sulay Kamidon, PO1 Esperileto Giano Lejarso, PO1 Esmael Manuel Guialal, PO1 Narkou Duloan Mascu and PO1 Rainer Tan Ebus.
Insp. Saudi Matabalo Mokamad was also ordered dismissed for serious neglect of duty “for failing or refusing to take command in an emergency in order to carry out police duty, being the officer present with the highest rank, grade or position.”
Other officers in the petition were either meted the lesser penalty or exonerated for lack of evidence.
The decision was signed by Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, who also chairs the Napolcom, PNP chief Ricardo Marquez, and commissioners Napolcom vice chair Eduardo Escueta, Luisito Palmera, Constancia de Guzman and Alejandro Uro.
“The internal cleansing continues. Kung nagkasala sila, they should be punished one way or another,” Marquez said in an interview on Tuesday. “There has to be some intervention in any measure.”
Asked why it took the Napolcom several years to issue a decision, the PNP chief said the delay might have been caused by failure of some complainants to attend the hearings.
“[Also], it takes some time to prosecute a big number of respondents,” he said.
Most of the dismissed officers were members of the 1508th Provincial Mobile Group under Maguid’s command.
The Napolcom said Maguid led “the efforts to hide and conceal the incident from the authorities and to dispose of evidence that might have been left by the group of Datu [Unsay] Andal Jr.”
Based on the Napolcom’s findings, deputy Maguindanao police chief Dicay himself gave the order to the officers to block the convoy and lead the checkpoint set up by the provincial mobile group.
The Napolcom also found that the officers stood in conspiratorial silence when a group of armed men led by Datu municipal mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. arrived and led away the convoy to a nearby hill on Sitio Masalay, where he and his men gunned down the victims mercilessly.
“All of the members of the 1508th Provincial Mobile Group chose to become silent spectators to a crime unfolding before their eyes. Their inaction manifests complicity and unity of action to those who committed the abduction, and later, the murders,” said the Napolcom in its decision.
Meanwhile, 11 other officers who were under 1507th Provincial Mobile Group were suspended for 59 days for less grave neglect of duty for failing to report gunfire they heard 30 minutes after the convoy passed by their checkpoint along the National Highway in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town.
The 1507th Provincial Mobile Group had set up a checkpoint about four kilometers away before that of the 1508th Provincial Mobile Group’s own checkpoint.
The suspended officers were SPO1 Alik Mluk Solano, PO2 Kendatu Salem Rakim, PO1 Benedick Tentiao Alfonso, PO1 Abdurahman Said Batarasa, PO1 Marjul Tarulan Julkadi, PO1 Datu Jerry Mluk Utto, PO1 Mohamad Karim Balading, PO1 Marsman Eging Nilong, PO1 Abdulmanan Lumbabo Saavedra, PO3 Felix Abado Daquilos, and PO1 Jimmy Mlah Kadtong.
Twenty other police officers were absolved of charges due to lack of evidence, while Napolcom said it could not proceed with the charges against nine others who had gone on absence without official leave even before charges were filed against them.
Those absolved were Supt. Bahnarin Unas Kamaong, Supt. Abdulwahid Unas Pedtucasan, Senior Insp. Abdulgapor Benasing Abad, SPO2 George Sermonia Labayan, SPO2 Samad Usman Maguindra, SPO1 Oscar Dariua Donato, SPO1 Elizer Sarad Rendaje, SPO1 Alimola Guinaton Langalen, PO3 Gibrael Rojas Alano, PO3 Ricky Duya Balanueco, PO2 Rexson Diocolano Guiama, PO1 Amir Maliwanang Solaiman, PO1 Badjun Ibad Panegas, PO2 Sandy Diloyodin Sabang, PO1 Johann Mansal Draper, PO1 Tamano Sahibal Hadi , PO1 Ebara Guiamalon Bebot, PO1 Pendatun Ambang Dima, PO1 Michael Macapeges Macarongon and PO1 Abdulbayan Usman Mundas.
The Napolcom said it could not proceed with the charges against PO2 Tanny Awal Dalgan, PO1 Ysmael Nalaunan Baraguir, PO1 Abbey Aklad Guiadem, PO1 Warden Kusain Legawan, PO1 Jonathan Solaiman Engid, PO1 Datunot Mangelen Kadir, PO1 Joharto Silongan Kamendan, PO1 Arnulfo Ayunan Soriano, and PO1 Anwear Damaudtang Masukat because they had gone on absence without official leave and had already been dropped from the rolls before the charges were filed against them.
Meanwhile, charges against PO1 Hernanie Saulong Decipulo Jr. were dropped because he died while the proceedings were being conducted. JE/RC
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