MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has created a board of inquiry (BOI) to probe the attack by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Piang, Maguindanao last week.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame Tuesday, PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, said Maj. Gen. Marni Marcos, Director of Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), will lead the BOI with the assistance of five other police officials.
“The purpose of the BOI is to determine what really transpired,” Sinas said.
He added that the board would review the facts and circumstances regarding the incident and delve deeper into the operational, strategic, or tactical lapses in the operational procedures and existing policies.
The probe also aims to identify policy and program interventions to be undertaken by the police “to prevent similar incidents from happening again”.
Sinas also said the BOI would determine whether there are intelligence lapses, best practices, and commendable actions in terms of responding to the incident.
Initial investigation showed that factions of the BIFF led by Esmael Abubakar alias ‘Kumander Bungos’ and Imam Minimbang alias ‘Kagi Karialan’ conducted the harassment in the town last December 3.
Sinas added that terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya allegedly teamed up with the two groups in staging the attack.
Marcos said they are coordinating with the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR).
“We are collating all facts gathered. Those were the reports of the chief of police and the commanders in the area. We will find it out later, we would analyze what their motives are. We are not just relying on their statements, we are also using the open source, social media, we have interviews (on information) about these perpetrators,” Marcos told reporters in a press briefing.
Marcos assured that they would immediately submit the report on the harassment soon as they get all the data needed.
Sinas has ordered to momentarily relieve Capt. Israel Bayona, police chief of Datu Piang, Maguindanao, while the investigation is ongoing.
“He was momentarily relieved while the investigation is ongoing and he would also undergo stress debriefing. He would be reinstated once the results are out and I think he has done his best. He was able to show the residents his good leadership and the town mayor requested to retain him,” Sinas said.
The harassment incident transpired around 9:25 p.m. last December 3 at Barangay Poblacion, Datu Piang town allegedly by the BIFF. No casualty was reported in the incident.
Authorities are looking at political rivalry among local executives of Datu Piang, particularly between Mayor Victor Samama and Vice Mayor Nasser Abpi over certain political issues as one of three possible motives behind the attack.
Other possible motives are vengeance for the death of BIFF member Abu Suffian in a police operation in Cotabato City on Dec. 1, and the personal grudge of some BIFF members against Bayona for the recent arrest of its two members on drugs and firearms charges.
Sinas said the personal grudge is most likely the motive because the chief of police was sought out by the armed men over the earlier arrest of two BIFF members who are relatives of the vice mayor.
Police earlier identified Salahudin Hasan alias “Salah” and Muhiden Animbang Indong alias “Commander Karialan” as the leaders of 50 men who stormed the town center of Datu Piang.
Aside from the minor damage, no casualty was reported in the attack, according to the police. (PNA)