POLICE Regional Office 12 director, Brigadier General John Michael F. Dubria yesterday said a Special Investigation Task Group has been created to lead the probe into the killing of nine persons in Kabacan, Cotabato last August 29.
The Central Mindanao police commander also ordered the Cotabato Police Provincial Office director to ensure that the gunmen responsible for the series of recent atrocities will be identified, jailed and prosecuted.
Dubria also welcomed the investigation being conducted by other agencies in connection with the multiple murder case and assured their full support to their effort.
“However, we also condemn the unscrupulous spread of unverified information in the social media which insinuates false narratives regarding the incidents,” he said.
Dubria appealed to the general public to share with them any information that would be useful in the early solution of the case. “We also enjoin the public to remain calm and rest assured that your Philippine National Police is doing its best to maintain peace and security in the Soccsksargen region,” he added.
Dubria also ordered stepped-up police visibility in the entire region in the aftermath of the Jolo, Sulu bombings that killed 15 people, many of them security troops and wounded over 70 others.
The regional had been rocked by several bloody incidents last month.
Last August 25, Major Joan Resurreccion, chief of the Carmen Municipal Police Station in Cotabato was shot to death while he and his men were on their way to investigate the killing of an Indian money-lender identified as Loveprect Singh Brar in Purok Tawan-Tawan in Barangay Poblacion. Still unidentified thieves shot to death the foreigner.
Dubria said members of the Carmen police pursued about 15 suspects involved in the twin shooting incident but failed to catch up with them when the entered Sitio Kalasan, Bgy. Buluan in the same municipality which is a known Moro Islamic Liberation Front community.
Around 1:50 a.m. last August 29, members of the Carmen and Kabacan Municipal Police Staitons and the Cotabato Provincial Mobile Force Company clashed with the gunmen as they were trying to cross the Lumayong river on board two motorized boats. No casualty was reported during the gunfight.
Nearly 11 hours after the gunbattle, the local police received information regarding a shooting incident along the provincial road in Bgy. Poblacon which left eight persons dead on the spot. A 9th victim died while undergoing treatment in a local hospital.
The victims, some of them farmers and duck raisers were on their way to the town center last Saturday on board their respective motorcycles when they were flagged down at gunpoint by the suspects before being shot without any provocation.
The killings outraged the entire Mindanao community and triggered accusations left and right. Some local Muslim officials claimed that security forces were behind the killings although police said they are looking into a ‘Rido’ of family feud as the motive behind the massacre.
“While we at the PRO12 mourns the death of the chief of the Carmen police station, we are also seeing to it that there will be a relentless pursuit operation against the suspects whose identities we already have. They all will be facing appropriate criminal charges,” Dubria said.