PNP chief confirms 3 police fatalities
MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified Tuesday that no policeman was beheaded by Maute extremists in Marawi City, contrary to an earlier statement of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"May mga reports na yun una, pinugutan si Senior Insp. [Fredie] Solar. But noong na-recover ang katawan niya, hindi naman pala. So 'yun iyung nakarating kay Presidente na impormasyon," PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa told reporters in Marawi.
"Later on, hindi naman pala napugutan. Raw information lang ang nakarating."
Duterte said last week that militants who have laid siege to the city had decapitated the police chief of Malabang.
Dela Rosa said 3 policemen have been killed while another 3 of their comrades were wounded in the ongoing offensives against the bandits.
There is no official tally yet of the cops who were reportedly trapped in Marawi's downtown area.
"Hindi natin alam kung nahuli sila or nagtatago sila ngayon. Walang contact," Dela Rosa said.
The country's top cop went to Marawi to boost the morale of policemen. He expressed sadness over the chaos sweeping the city, which houses the Mindanao State University (MSU), his alma matter.
"Scholar ako dito before I passed the PMA entrance examination. Umabot ako dito ng 3rd year. Natapos ako ng 3rd year, mag fo-fourth year na sana ako noong lumipat ako ng PMA. So very close sa akin ang Marawi, lalo na ang MSU. Napakalaki ng utang ko sa iskwelahan ko na iyan," he said.
"Malungkot ako dahil damage to life and property ang nangyari... There is a war going on so we have to accept that fact that kailangan talaga, kailangan talaga mangyari yan para maibalik, ma-restore talaga yung peace and order ng Marawi."
The fighting, which has killed at least 100, has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao island under martial law.
The Philippine military said on Monday it was close to retaking Marawi as helicopters unleashed more rockets on positions held by the rebels. -- With a report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News