File photo of slain Cotabato City public order and safety officer Rolen Balquin.

COTABATO CITY – Police authorities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) announced Wednesday the creation of a special probe team to fast-track the investigation on the recent murder of retired police, Brig. Gen. Rolen Balquin, the city’s public safety officer.

Speaking over DXMS Radyo here, Major Mark Joseph Porras, spokesperson of Cotabato City Police Office, said the creation of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) -Balquin was approved by Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, the BARMM police director.

Balquin previously served as city police director.

Colonel Jeffrey Fernandez, BARMM police deputy director for operations, was named SITG supervisor, while Colonel Rommel Javier, city police director, the SITG commander.

Balquin, who retired in 2017 with the rank of brigadier general, was named as Cotabato City Public Order and Safety chief and served in that position until he was gunned down on March 19 along Sinsuat Avenue here.

Balquin’s police escort, Chief Master Sgt. Ariel Gutang, was wounded in the attack.

Balquin, a native of Negros, was declared dead on arrival at a government hospital here.

Police said they have persons of interest in the murder that stunned the city residents since it occurred in broad daylight and during the election period, wherein a gun ban is strictly implemented by government law enforcement units.

Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has condemned the attack and urged witnesses to help the police in identifying the attackers.

Offers for help

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Alexander Tagum, the Police Regional Office – Soccsksargen (PRO-12) director, has offered their assistance in solving Balquin’s murder.

Balquin also once served as a police officer in the PRO-12 office.

A graduate of Philippine National Police Academy Tagapaglingkod Class of 1987, Balquin served as commandants of cadets at Camp Gen. Mariano N Castañeda in Silang, Cavite, prior to his assignment in Mindanao.

The PNPA currently flies the Philippine flag at half-mast in honor of Balquin. (PNA)