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BOI chair relieved in major PNP revamp

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 3354

FOUR days after he was personally feted by no less than President Aquino himself, Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief, Director Benjamin B. Magalong found himself being relieved from his post reportedly upon orders of the Palace, the People’s Tonight learned yesterday.
   
Magalong, a classmate at the Philippine Military Academy Class 1982 of PNP chief, Director General Ricardo C. Marquez was designated as the new PNP Director for Investigation and Detective Management on instructions of President Aquino, highly-reliable sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
   
Sources said that Gen. Marquez pushed for the designation of Magalong as the new PNP Chief Directorial Staff but he was overruled by President Aquino and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.
   
Magalong was the head of the PNP Board of Inquiry that investigated the tragic Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation that left 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos dead. He is believed to have irked the President after the BOI concluded that the President is principally liable for the death of the Gallant 44 after approving the mission following talks with then suspended PNP chief, Director General Alan LM Purisima. The BOI also ruled that the President broke the chain of command during the ill-fated mission.
   
His relief came just a few days after President Aquino presented the PNP Unit Achievement Award in the Campaign against Organized Crimes to Magalong. The PNP-CIDG was cited for its huge success in the campaign against organized crime groups in 2014 including the service of 11 search warrants against the notorious Bantugon Group that led in the arrest of three of its member and the confiscation of seven assorted high-powered firearms and ammunition.
   
The PNP-CIDG was behind majority of the PNP accomplishments against major organized criminal groups over the past two years. In fact, almost half of the police anti-crime successes mentioned by President Aquino during the 114th Police Service anniversary were CIDG operations including the raid in Caloocan City where dozens were arrested following the discovery of sect ‘shabu tiyangges’ and  high-powered weapons and ammunition shortly before the Police Service anniversary.
   
One of its officers, Chief Inspector Wilfredo V. Sy was also awarded by the President with the Achievement Award in the Field of Police Criminal Investigation (Police Commissioned Officer Level) for his role in the capture of most wanted persons Bingbong Kapina in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao; ranking Abu Sayyaf Group leader Khair Mundos on June 11 last year and the police effort to ensure the safe stay of Pope Francis in the country last January by preventing plots hatched by the Raja Sulayman Group.
   
It has been an open secret in Camp Crame that Magalong risked his career when he announced the BOI findings on the Mamasapano mission and ruled the liability of the President in the mission that went tragic after 44 SAF commandos were killed after neutralizing Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan. “He (Magalong) was ready to be relieved at that time but it seems that the Palace delayed the action afraid of the possible backlash,” said one CIDG official.
   
Many CIDG officers and men interviewed by the Tonight said they were deeply saddened by the relief of Magalong whom they said should have been rewarded with promotion for clearly doing his job as CIDG director. The official is known for paving a genuine transformation program in the CIDG both physically and internally earning him the respect of many of his peers and subordinates.
   
Magalong will replace Director Francisco Don C. Montenegro, a member of PMA Class 1981 who filed his courtesy resignation shortly after Gen. Marquez took over as the country’s top cop. Montenegro will be retiring on March 6 next year.