21 cops fired, 11 suspended over Maguindanao massacre

Bea Cupin

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21 cops fired, 11 suspended over Maguindanao massacre
The 20 cops did nothing as the killings took place, and are dismissed 6 years after the massacre

MANILA, Philippines – They were “silent spectators to a crime unfolding before their very eyes.”

After almost 6 years of hearings and proceedings, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) has dismissed 20 policemen for being “co-conspirators” in the murder of 58 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.

“Their inaction manifests complicity and unity of action to those who committed the abduction, and later the murders, themselves,” said the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a press release on Wednesday, December 9.

On November 23, 2009, 58 people were killed during what was supposed to be a trip to the provincial capitol of Maguindanao to file then-gubernatorial candidate Esmael Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy. It is the country’s worst case of election-related violence. (WATCH: 58 seconds)

The prime suspect in the massacre is Andal Ampatuan Sr, whose son, Andal Ampatuan Jr, was then the incumbent governor. The older Ampatuan has since died

The 20 policemen, a mix of junior officers and enlisted personnel, “conspired with Andal Ampatuan Jr and his armed men in carrying out the massacre,” the Napolcom said.

The following have been dismissed from service for grave misconduct:

  1. Superintendent Abusama Mundas Maguid
  2. Chief Inspector Zukarno Adil Dicay
  3. Inspector Rex Ariel Tabao Diongon
  4. Inspector Michael Joy Ines Macaraeg
  5. Senior Police Officer 2 Badawi Piang Bakal
  6. Senior Police Officer 1 Eduardo Hermo Ong
  7. Police Officer 3 Rasid Tolentino Anton
  8. PO3 Felix Escala Enate Jr.
  9. PO3 Abibudin Sambuay Abdulgani
  10. PO3 Hamad Michael Nana
  11. PO2 Saudiar Ubo Ulah
  12. PO2 Saudi Pompong Pasutan
  13. PO1 Herich Manisi Amaba
  14. PO1 Michael Juanitas Madsig
  15. PO1 Abdullah Samma Baguadatu
  16. PO1 Pia Sulay Kamidon
  17. PO1 Esprilieto Giano Lejarso
  18. PO1 Esmael Manuel Guialal
  19. PO1 Narkou Duloan Mascud
  20. PO1 Rainer Tan Ebus

Another officer, Inspector Saudi Matabalao Mokamad, was also dismissed for “serious neglect of duty and less grave neglect of duty” because he failed “to take command in an emergency when he simply dismissed the gunshots he heard instead of investigating the matter, he being the highest ranking police officer in the area.” Mokamad also failed to inform his superiors, the Napolcom noted.

11 more cops were given a 59-day suspension for “less grave neglect of duty”:

  1. SPO1 Ali Mluk Solano
  2. PO2 Kendatu Salem Rakim
  3. PO1 Benedick Tentiao Alfonso
  4. PO1 Abdurahman Said Batarasa
  5. PO1 Marjul Tarulan Julkadi
  6. PO1 Datu Jerry Mluk Utto
  7. PO1 Mohamad Karim Balading
  8. PO1 Marsman Eging Nilong
  9. PO1 Abdulmanan Lumbabao Saavedra
  10. PO3 Felix Abado Daquilos
  11. PO1 Jimmy Mlah Kadtong

According to the Napolcom, the 11 were liable for “paying no attention and simply ignoring the gunshots they heard 30 minutes after the convoy of the Mangudadatus passed their checkpoint.”

Another 20 cops were exonerated because the Napolcom “found no sufficient evidence to prove their culpability.” One cop was cleared of charges because he was already dead.

The Napolcom also dismissed complaints against 9 cops “for lack of jurisdiction without prejudice to the revival of the case in the event that they will be restored to full duty status.”

“Although the NAPOLCOM found sufficient evidence to establish the liability of some of the respondents, we were constrained to dismiss the case against them because they either had gone on absence without official leave or had been dropped from the rolls prior to the institution of the administrative complaint on March 10, 2010,” the PNP quoted Napolcom Vice Chairman Eduardo Escueta as saying.

The Napolcom has administrative oversight of the PNP, giving it the authority to hear cases filed against its officials and personnel. The cases against some 62 members of the PNP were filed by the relatives of the murder victims – family members and supporters of Mangudadatu, as well as media who were part of the convoy.

Hearings headed by a 3-member ad-hoc committee officially ended 2011, but respondents have the option to re-appeal cases against them.

No criminal convictions have been made in the case filed against the Ampatuans and their alleged accomplices. (READ: 6 updates on Maguindanao massacre’s 6th year)

In March this year, a member of the powerful political clan graduated from the PNP Academy, where the police force commissions its officers. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.