By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said nine more police officers have been included in the investigation into the fatal shooting of a police captain in Parang town, Maguindanao del Norte province.

“There are four PCOs (Police Commissioned Officers) and seven PNCOs (Police Non-Commissioned Officers) who are subject of the pre-charge investigation of the Regional Internal Affairs Service and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region police,” said PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing at their Camp Crame headquarters late Wednesday afternoon.

These police officers include Master Sergeants Aladdin Ramalan and Shariff Balading, who were earlier tagged as among the five suspects who gunned down Capt. Rolando Moralde at the town’s public market on May 2.

Fajardo said the four PCOs include the chiefs of police and administrative officers of the Rajah Buayan Municipal Police Station (MPS) in Maguindanao del Sur province and Matanog MPS in Maguindanao del Norte.

Investigation showed that Ramalan and Balading were assigned to the Matanog MPS and Rajah Buayan MPS, respectively.

The two police officers were both declared as AWOL (absent without official leave) after failing to show up for work on May 13, a few days after they were ordered released by the Maguindanao del Norte Provincial Prosecutor’s Office which junked the murder charges against them due to lack of evidence.

Also under investigation are the victim’s three police companions and two police officers who were at the market when the shootout occured.

“Accordingly ay may duty na pulis sa (There were police officers on duty at the) public market. So kasama rin iniimbestigahan yung sinasabi na tatlong pulis na supposedly kasama ni (We are also probing the three police officers who were supposedly with) Capt. Moralde during that time but biglang nawala (suddenly disappeared) during the incident.,” Fajardo explained.

Ramalan and Balading are facing administrative cases for grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.

Three other suspects remain at large.

Reports said the victim and his officers were on market chores at the town’s public market when he noticed a man with a pistol on his waist, later identified as Mohiden Untal.

Moralde confronted Untal but the suspect resisted and shot him. He also fired back and hit Untal.

The five suspects shot Moralde dead. They turned out to be Untal’s relatives. (PNA)