ARMM authorities contacting 55 unaccounted cops
COTABATO CITY – Police authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are trying to reach out to about 55 more police officers assigned in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.
“We could not reach them, so they remain unaccounted for to date,” Chief Supt. Reuben Sindac, police director for ARMM said in a phone interview.
Fourteen of the 76 police officers earlier reported missing or unaccounted have shown up to their immediate superiors.
For those who remained unaccounted, Sindac said there was no report they were killed or taken hostage by the Maute or Abu Sayyaf Group since the atrocities in Marawi started on May 23.
“We do not want to speculate, we hope they come out soon,” Sindac said.
Some families of the unaccounted police officers confirmed to the Inquirer they have lost contact with them.
“We have not heard from him since,” a relative of a police officer assigned in Marawi City said. “We could not reach his mobile numbers either.”
A police officer assigned in one of Lanao Sur towns has sent a text message to a colleague, a policewoman, telling her he has been hiding in one of the houses in the city and could not go out because the terrorists are close to his home.
He was off duty and stayed in his home before the fighting erupted.
Talks among police officers about “missing” police officers could be one of the reasons for the relief of Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes as Lanao del Sur police provincial director.
“May be they were trapped, lost or have drained their mobile phones thus they could not open lines with their superiors, like some ARMM teachers who remained unaccounted for or are missing,” a police official said.
ARMM education officials said at least 700 public school teachers are yet to be accounted for since they have not reported for work nor showed up to school division offices in Marawi City and neighboring towns.