Slaying of Maguindanao Norte police officer condemned, 3 cops involved

By Edwin Fernandez

May 3, 2024, 2:49 pm Updated on May 3, 2024, 3:49 pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) has strongly condemned the fatal shooting of Police Capt. Rolando Moralde in a public market in Parang town, Maguindanao del Norte on Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Prexy Tanggawohn, PRO-BAR regional director, on Friday also ordered the Maguindanao police provincial office to pursue the remaining two of five suspects who repeatedly shot Moralde, the administrative officer of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 14.

“The prevalence of violence against our policemen is deeply concerning, as it demonstrates a disregard for the principles of law and order," Tanggawohn said in a statement.

“These acts of disrespect towards authorities should not be tolerated, as they undermine the safety of our policemen and pose a threat to maintaining peace, order, and the safety of the community," he added.

Lt. Col. Christopher Cabugwang, Parang municipal police chief, said Moralde and his men were on marketing chores inside the town public market when he noticed a man with a pistol on his waist, later identified as Mohiden Untal.

“Moralde confronted the man he saw with a pistol, but the suspect resisted and opened fire on the police officer, who fired back, hitting Untal,” Cabugwang said.

Untal was killed during a chase by Moralde’s colleagues.

In a seemingly bizarre twist, Cabugwang said four other men, including three police officers, approached the fallen Moralde and shot him and fled. They turned out to be Untal's relatives.

Cabugwang said two police officers linked to the murder have already surrendered, while two others – including another police officer – remain at large. He did not identify them pending an ongoing investigation.

“It was a regrettable incident because there were also cops who shot him (Moralde), he said.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil expressed “deep sorrow” over the tragic incident that led to the untimely passing of Moralde.

He also extended his heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Moralde as he reaffirmed the PNP’s commitment to “conduct a thorough investigation to uncover the motives behind this tragic incident and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Marbil urged individuals with relevant information to come forward and cooperate with authorities.

“Let us stand united in condemning all forms of violence and in supporting our law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our communities," he said. (with a report from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)