KIDAPAWAN CITY – The police chief of Kidapawan City including his deputy were relieved Tuesday from their posts while investigation on their culpability during the attack at the city jail last Sunday is ongoing.
Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, provincial director of the North Cotabato police, said ordered relieved were city police director Chino Mamburam and deputy chief Rolando Dillera.
The newly appointed chief of police in Kidapawan City is Superintendent Reynante Cabico who is currently head of the investigation and intelligence division of the Cotabato Provincial Police Office.
The turnover of command is set today, Wednesday, reports said.
Salinas was told that operatives of the Kidapawan City police were slow in responding to the attack at the city jail, even if the policemen on duty heard the blasts and the ensuing gunfire.
The jail is just few meters away from the police station.
At the time of the incident, Mamburam was in General Santos City while Dillera was in his house.
The Police Regional Office (PRO) in Soccsksargen has created a group tasked to investigate the jail attack, including the apparently sluggish response of the alert team of the Kidapawan City police during the assault.
Dillera, however, was quick in saying that he was at the blast site, few minutes after the attack.
"I arrived at the area. Provincial director (Cornelio) Salinas was just two minutes ahead of me. I came from home, got wet by the rain, and was not feeling well at the time. Yet, I proceeded to the area because I know that was part of my duty," Dillera said.
Dillera immediately ordered the dispatch of his men to areas believed to be the exit routes of the suspects.
The pursuit operations lasted until the wee hours of the morning, he said.
Despite the pursuits, Salinas said none among the attackers was arrested.
The exit routes were dark and the attackers were able to blend immediately with the residents at Barangay Nuangan and Indangan in Kidapawan City, two of the areas the authorities considered as "haven of some armed lawless groups."
"Their tribes kept these men. The suspects had already blended with the people," Salinas said.
The Kidapawan City Peace and Order Council (CPOC), after an emergency meeting last Monday, recommended the immediate transfer of Datukan Samad Lontoc, who is also known as Lastikman, and 15 other high-profile inmates at the city jail.
In a resolution, the CPOC, led by Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco, has sought the transfer of Lastikman to Bicutan jail in Taguig, Metro Manila.
"The Bicutan jail is a more secured place. With the minimal number of jail guards assigned at the facility, it's imperative that Lastikman and other high-profile inmates be transferred to another place," Gantuangco said.
At that time of the attack, the facility has only three jail guards manning the security, the mayor said.
Despite the number, the guards, with their gallantry or courage, were able to drive the attackers away from the facility, Salinas said.
Gantuangco said copies of the resolution they passed last Monday would be submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
"The request is so immediate. We hope the National Government, including the Supreme Court, heed to our call," the mayor said.