THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has warned its personnel in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to step up personal security measures as they are being targeted by drug syndicates in revenge over the death of a Maguindanao mayor last week.
PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa on Thursday said he has given the instruction to the ARMM regional police after they received reports that the men of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town will try to get back at the police in the area.
“I have directed the regional directors particularly in PRO [Police Regional Office] 12 in the ARMM to step up the personal security of their men,” dela Rosa told a media conference on Wednesday.
The PNP chief said at least one police officer in Cotabato was reportedly killed by alleged drug dealers.
“There were reports that after the death of Mayor Dimaukom, their armed group will take revenge. There was one killed in Pikit [town]and another in Cotabato. They’re now having vengeance,” dela Rosa said.
Last Monday, unidentified gunmen reportedly shot at close range Police Officer 2 Abeking Dandan who was drinking coffee with his wife in a village in Pikit, Cotabato.
The PNP chief, however, did not elaborate on the identity of the police officer who was reportedly killed in Cotabato.
Dela Rosa said he does want even “ninja cops” or policemen involved in selling drugs seized during operations to be killed but to be protected by regional police directors.
Dimaukom and nine of his men were killed in an alleged shootout with policemen past a checkpoint in Makilala, North Cotabato, on October 28.
He was among the alleged “narco-politicians” who had been named by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He and his wife had personally reported to dela Rosa in Camp Crame in Quezon City last August denying their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
South Cotabato mayor nabbed for guns
After the arrest of Mayor Christopher Amping Cuan of Libungan town in North Cotabato for guns and ammunition, the anti-drug police unit also raided the residence of Banga Mayor Albert Palencia in South Cotabato at dawn on Thursday.
Supt. Maximo Sebastian, chief of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, led the raiding team that barged into the house of Palencia in Barangay Punong Grande and seized several firearms and ammunition.
The team was armed with nine search warrants for illegal drugs, firearms and explosives.
Aside from the entire house, they also searched a nearby piggery owned by Palencia and six luxury cars for possible drugs.
Among the mayor’s six cars combed by the raiding team were a Toyota Fortuner, a Hilux and a Hummer.
Palencia is the second mayor in Mindanao who became subject of anti-drug operations in three days that yielded loose firearms, not drugs.
At press time, the police have not yet released a full inventory of firearms confiscated from Palencia other than a rifle grenade found at the piggery and four live bullets for a caliber 38 pistol.
The piggery workers said members of the raiding team were looking for a shabu laboratory but instead found the rifle grenade.
“We were told to drop face down,” the caretaker said. “There is no shabu lab here, what we have are swine and feeds.”
“I was surprised, but they found no drugs or guns,” Palencia said.
He was brought to Police Regional Office-12 in General Santos City for further investigation.