GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 Aug) – The Philippine National Police awarded the prestigious heroism medal to at least 11 members of the Police Regional Office 12’s anti-crime task force for the neutralization of a suspected bomber in Maguindanao province last May.
Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, Region 12 police director, said Thursday the PNP leadership conferred the Medalya ng Kadakilaan or the PNP Heroism Medal to the operatives of the Joint Task Force 12/A or Alpha for its successful operation in the municipality of Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao last May 27 that led to the killing of suspected bomb-maker Edres Sabal.
“This is for the acts of heroism that they showed when they successfully neutralized the bombing suspect. Their successful operation mainly prevented further bomb attacks that are being planned then by the suspect and his group,” he said.
The police official formally awarded the heroism medals in a simple ceremony in Cotabato City on Wednesday that was attended by Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr.
Joint Task Force 12/A, which is headed by Cotabato City Police Office chief Senior Supt. Willie Dangane, is mainly based in Cotabato City.
It was first created as a regional anti-kidnapping task force but its operations later included various major criminal activities in the region.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Cotabato, Kidapawan and Tacurong.
On May 27, task force operatives killed Sabal, who is also by his alias Faisal Ampuan, in an alleged shootout at the vicinity of Quarry Site, Barangay Simuay in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
The operatives also arrested the suspect’s wife, Hadiguia Kasim Mamalimping Sabal alias Baiguia Sabal, and alleged cohorts identified as Abukair Alba alias Kagi Bok, Jamel Amerol alias Jing Master, Abubakar Angeles, Zainudin Antao and Abil Antao.
The slain suspect was tagged by police and military officials as a member of the notorious Al-Khobar Group and was allegedly involved in the series of bombing incidents in the cities of Kidapawan and Koronadal.
The Department of Interior and Local Government had placed a reward of P700,000 for Sabal’s arrest.
Sabal had been charged with double frustrated murder in connection with a bomb attack in front of a shopping mall in Koronadal City in 2003 and another 36 counts of murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder for a series of bomb attacks in North Cotabato and Kidapawan City.
Police operatives earlier recovered from the suspect’s residence one Ithaca NY caliber .45 pistol, several live bullets, a fragmentation hand grenade, two magazines for caliber .45 pistol with 16 rounds of live ammunition and various suspected bomb-making components.
“Such laudable achievement displayed by the task force’s operatives deserve recognition by the PNP. This will serve as inspiration to the entire regional police to deliver the kind of police service each and every peace-loving Filipino is expecting,” Khu added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)