THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has removed the chief of the Maguindanao police hours after a town police chief in the province and a fellow policeman were killed in an ambush on Tuesday morning.
BGen. Robert Rodriguez of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management signed the memorandum sacking Col. Christopher Panapan as Maguindanao police director to be replaced by Col. Roel Rullan Sermese.
Sermese was formerly assigned with the Police Regional Office in the Soccsksargen region.
Panapan was canned hours after Ampatuan town police chief Lt. Reynaldo Samson was killed along with fellow policeman Cpl. Salipudin Endab.
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Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. and the PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. visited a hospital in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, and conferred awards to three other policemen who were wounded in Tuesday's ambush.
Abalos conferred the Medalya ng Kadakilaan and Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting to SMS Reynante Quinalayo and Cpl. Rogelio de la Cuesta and Cpl. Marc Clint Dayaday.
Maj. Reggie Abillera, spokesman for the Maguindanao police, said Samson and his men were out to arrest in Kapinpilan village in Ampatuan a person wanted for robbery.
Failing to find the person, Samson and his team returned to their station but were met with a hail of bullets along the way.
Police investigation showed that the beleaguered policemen managed to return fire and a brief firefight ensued until teams of policemen arrived at the scene, prompting the gunmen to flee.
The police in the Bangsamoro region have been executing the one-time-big-time implementation of warrants of arrest in the region with more than 3,000 arrest warrants yet to be served.
After the ambush on Tuesday, Abillera said policemen and soldiers are now on the trail of the group of Guipar Abdulkarim alias Commander Boy Jacket, whom they believed was behind the ambush.
Abillera said Abdulkarim was with his followers Sala Tunda, Johari Abdulbasser Guinaid, Phepe Saptulah, Abdulrah Sapal alias Bro Sapal and Bobot Kamsa alias Borgo.