Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen) Director, Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg. (Photo courtesy of PRO-12)

TACURONG CITY – Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 (Soccsksargen) chief, Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, has assured an impartial investigation into the killing of three teenagers in an alleged shootout in Lambayong town, Sultan Kudarat province.

“Our police officers are mandated to serve and protect the public. Police checkpoint operations were not motivated by whatever, but by the proper law enforcement duties,” Macaraeg said in a radio interview Wednesday.

He issued the statement in reaction to social media comments alleging that the killing of the suspects was triggered by the desire of some police officers for rank promotion.

“Our police in Lambayong were performing their duties and reacted accordingly when fired upon by the gunmen,” he said in the vernacular.
“What we do is not for rank promotion. We conduct checkpoint operations, so our citizens are safe regardless of their belief, political, and cultural affiliations.”

Lambayong Police chief, Maj. Jenahmeel Toñacao, who led the 1 a.m. checkpoint operation in Barangay Didtaras on December 2, was relieved along with some of his subordinates.

The PRO-12 Regional Internal Affairs Service has begun a probe into the killing, which caused an uproar from the parents and relatives of the dead suspects.

Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr. of the Shariff Saydona Police in Maguindanao del Sur and father of one of the fatalities, was not convinced his son and his companions resisted arrest.

“No justification for killing unarmed teenagers while in police custody,” he said.

In their defense, Toñacao said the police chased the three teens for ignoring the checkpoint by speeding away on board a motorbike. 

He said the suspects’ motorbike crashed and as police were approaching, they were fired upon, triggering a shootout. (PNA)