PNP recommends stay of state of emergency in Maguindanao

July 15, 2010 10:01 am 

COTABATO CITY, July 15 — The state of emergency should stay in Maguindanao province because it has helped maintain law and order in the province.

This was the recommendation of outgoing Maguindanao acting police provincial director Sr. Supt. Alex Lineses.

Lineses, who resigned from his post, said the state of emergency had created an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in Maguindanao's 36 municipalities.

The state of emergency was declared by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on November 25, two days after 57 people, mostly journalists, lawyers and wife of incumbent Gov. Ismael Toto Mangudadatu in Ampatuan town.

It was the worst, single-day massacre of people in the country's history and the worst against media persons all over the world.

With the province under state of emergency, the military and police managed to maintain law and order with resulted in the arrests of scores of civilians carrying firearms.

"Unless total normalcy is restored, I am recommending that the state of emergency should stay," Lineses said in his report submitted to Camp Crame.

Even military officials in the region believed that the SOE should stay.

Maguindanao is home to a big number of private armed groups, Moro rebels, lawless elements and ordinary citizens who possess firearms.

With the SOE still in effect, the number of firearms related crimes have been tremendously reduced, Lineses said.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamen Hao, spokesperson of the Army's 6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division based in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, said the SOE also prevented the proliferation of loose firearms in the province.

"We see less people carrying firearms on board private vehicles roaming around the province," Hao said.

Lineses offered to vacate his post to allow Gov. Mangudadatu to choose a new police director of his choice.

Earlier, Mangudadatu ordered Lineses to perform or ship out if he could not arrest some of the suspects in the Maguindanao massacre.

The powerful Ampatuan clan was tagged as behind the carnage and five of its clan members, including former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his son Regional Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, are in jail.

Lineses denied reports that he left his post due to pressures from Mangudadatu.

Lineses was reassigned in the PNP-ARMM intelligence unit. (PNA)

LDV/NYP/EOF

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