The Philippine National Police has removed its top official in Sulu and replaced all policemen in one town for allegedly failing to control violence among candidates’ supporters this election season.

Senior Supt. Antonio Freyra was relieved from his post as provincial director while members of the ARMM Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) replaced all policemen in Banguingui, PNP chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima said in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon sa Banguingui, hanggang ngayon nagpuputukan pa, we now have a company of RPSB who replaced the local police. The PD of Suluwas relieved because hindi na niya ma-control ang mga tao, we need people to control the situation,” Purisima said.

Senior Supt. Robert Kuinisala, who currently serves as deputy director for administration of the ARMM regional police, has been tasked to lead the Sulu provincial police, the PNP chief said.

Sought for more details, Kuinisala said the fighting in Bangungui, formerly known as Tongkil, started on election day between supporters of mayoralty candidate Whajid Sahidulla and a rival candidate.

“So far may reported na tatlong patay, tapos apat na wounded. Nung eleksyon nangyari pero yung succeeding skirmishes, di namin ma-determine kung may sugatan, di ka makalapit dun sa nagpupukpukan eh,” Kuinisala said.

“Nagpuputukan sila sa barangay, sa mga sitio-sitio kung saan sila magkita-kita, ‘yun ang sitwasyon, so kailangang ibalik namin ang normalcy,” he said.

Kuinisala said Senior Supt. Abraham Orbita will be installed as the provincial police director once he and his men have restored peace in Bangungui. (John Roson)

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