Police Chief Oscar Albayalde says he has temporarily relieved some officials involved in the misencounter between policemen and Army troops in Samar that resulted in the death of six policemen.
“I ordered the regional director of [Police Regional Office-8] to temporarily relieve the group director of the regional mobile group and also the company commander who led the troops in that operation,” Albayalde told CNN Philippines’ News Night on Tuesday.
He said he might relieve more officials depending on the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry probing the misencounter.
Albayalde made his statement even as Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday the investigation of the misencounter must focus on preventing any similar occurrences.
Nine other policemen were wounded in the encounter.
Lacson said the Board of Inquiry must ensure no recurrence of such incident in all areas where troops from different units were simultaneously operating against local rebels and secessionists.
“Precisely, a joint AFP-PNP investigation team is now formed to conduct the probe, not so much to find fault but to pinpoint the lapses in coordination,” he said.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said the misencounter in Santa Rita village was unfortunate because it was not the first time it happened.
Aside from the loss of human lives, he said, government resources were unnecessarily wasted in the recruitment and training of the PNP personnel.
The Board of Inquiry will be led by Directorate for Integrated Police Operations Eastern Visayas head Rolando Felix.
Directorate for Operations Executive Officer Chief Supt. Rene Pamuspusan, Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management Executive Officer Chief Supt. Adelio Benjamin Castillo and a representative from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group will also participate in the investigation.
The board will serve as a support group and coordinate closely with its counterparts in the Armed Forces, PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said.
The Interior and Defense departments have also formed their own Board of Inquiry to look into the matter.