Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño on Thursday said that the elderly couple killed in Inabanga during the clash between security forces and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last month was not part of the bandit group.
Napo, Inabanga residents Constancio and Crisenta Petalco who were found dead along with ASG militants after the encounter in the said village could have been supporters of the extremists or were used as human shields during the firefight, said Taliño.
The police official also did not discount the possibility that the Petalcos were merely caught in the crossfire during the intense gun battle between the ASG and government troops.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) carried out an investigation on the death of the couple as well as the killing of alleged ASG militant Abu Saad who was reportedly gunned down by authorities after escaping from police escorts.
Taliño said that he “welcomed” both probes.
Earlier, Taliño declared Bohol “Abu Sayyaf-free” as threats from the bandit group in Bohol were eliminated following the killing of all ASG militants who entered the province in April.
However, authorities remained on alert for the possibility of retaliatory attacks even as the region has been deemed free of terrorist threats.
Police across the region continued to focus on thwarting any reprisal from the terrorist group after its members who entered Bohol were wiped out in over a month of manhunt operations.
For his part, Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPOO) director Sr. Supt. Felipe Natividad urged the public to refrain from believing accounts on social media indicating that a royal family based in Sulu is set to launch an offensive after the death of one of its members.
“Asis” who was gunned down by authorities in Pangangan Island, Calape on Monday afternoon is believed to be part of a royal family in Mindanao.
Natividad said that the BPPO has not received information pointing out the possible attack of more armed men from Mindanao.
“Yung labing isa pumasok dito, nakuha at na detect natin…we are able to get all of them. Presently, at this point in time, the PNP, wala kaming na re-recieve na information on possible retaliation,” Natividad said. (Allen Doydora)