Mamasapano probe chief is PNP's new 3rd in command

MANILA, Philippines – The police general who headed an independent probe into one of the bloodiest operations in the police force's history will soon hold its 3rd highest-ranked post.

Police Director Benjamin Magalong, currently the head of the Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, will soon be the deputy chief for operations of the 160,000-strong police force, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the new chief of the PNP, announced in his inaugural speech. 

Magalong is older than Dela Rosa and is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982. Dela Rosa, meanwhile, is a member of the PMA Class of 1986. 

The two-star general clarified that formal orders for him to join the PNP's Command Group have yet to be signed, but Dela Rosa is expected to issue these soon. 

When he was chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the two-star police general headed the PNP's Board of Inquiry, a team tasked to probe the bloody Mamasapano clash. More than 60 Filipinos died as a result of a botched police operation against wanted terrorists. 

Of the 60, 44 slain were elite cops. 

It was the BOI that found then President Benigno Aquino III of having committed lapses in the lead up to the operation, which was kept a secret from top officials in Camp Crame, the Armed Forces, and even Cabinet officials such as Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Aquino said he was "hurt" by the report, as he and his allies denied any liability in the operation. –