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Saturday, July 13, 2024

NBI joins probe of Lanao massacre

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THE Department of Justice on Sunday directed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the killing of five agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Kapai, Lanao del Sur last Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct a parallel investigation into the ambush incident that killed PDEA-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao agents Kenneth Tabulo, Kristine May Torlao, Joy Amar, Binzo Dipolla and Diobel Pacinio.

“I have instructed Director Gierran to investigate the killing of five PDEA agents in Lanao Del Sur and identify the people responsible for this act of cowardice against our anti-narcotics agents,” Guevarra said, in a text message.

The DoJ chief also tasked the NBI to build a strong case to be filed against individuals or group behind the incident.

Guevarra stressed that he required the NBI to prioritize this case and immediately submit a report.

The slain PDEA agents just came from a dialogue with former drug dependents in Tagoloan town when unidentified men shot their vehicle with assault rifles while at a secluded stretch of a highway in Barangay Malna, Kapai.

All five agents died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds, while two others—PDEA agent  Rachel Gentapanan and non-uniformed local police employee Normina Dicay—were seriously wounded.

Responding policemen and local officials recovered spent shells of rifle cartridges from one side of the highway from where the ambushers launched the attack.

Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman both offered cash incentives for informants who will help authorities identify the culprits.

Tagoloan and Kapai are hinterland towns in Lanao del Sur, where the PRO-12 and PDEA-ARMM had neutralized over a dozen of high-profile drug rings in the past 24 months.

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