PNP chief rejects relief of entire Sulu police force

Published August 27, 2020, 12:58 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Police Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), rejected Thursday calls to replace the entire police force of Sulu following the deadly twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu that killed security forces and civilians and wounded more than 75 others last Monday.

Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa

Instead, Gamboa ordered the deployment of more policemen in Sulu to hunt down those involved in the bombings and to secure more places in the province where bomb attacks would likely occur.

“Unless there is sufficient evidence establishing criminal involvement or administrative lapses leading to the attack, the PNP maintains full confidence in our ground personnel,” said Gamboa, in response to Sen. Franklin Drilon who urged the PNP leadership to sack and replace all the policemen assigned in Sulu.

Two suspected female bombers who detonated the improvised explosive devices in Jolo were reportedly the ones being pursued by four military intelligence officers who were killed by the local police late last month.

One of the units tasked to augment the police force in Sulu is the elite PNP Special Action Force.

While there are SAF commandos already staying in Sulu, Gamboa said there is a need to deploy more to secure the province while the hunt against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is ongoing.

Gamboa said that he has issued an order directing a deeper probe of Jolo blasts by mobilizing the Philippine Bomb Data Center (PBDC) and Crime Laboratory for technical support to ongoing investigation of the deadly explosions.

He said the PBDC analysts will seek to determine any specific bomb signature of the explosives that were detonated based on reconstruction of forensic evidence gathered by the Crime Laboratory and other security forces that responded to the incident.

“Any specific bomb signature that will be determined from the technical analysis will be compared with known bomb signatures from previous incidents that are stored in the PBDC database to possibly identify the person or group to whom the bomb signature can be associated with,” said Gamboa.