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Family of slain SAF officer seeks probe into Maguindanao incident

The flag-draped coffins bearing the bodies of 42 of the 44 policemen were flown Thursday to Manila, where top government, police and military officials stood in mourning. AP/Bullit Marquez

The family of one of the slain PNP-Special Action Force officers died in a clash with Moro rebels in Maguindanao sought for a thorough probe into the incident which left more than 40 SAF personnel dead in a fierce gunbattle with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters last Sunday.

Nelson Pabalinas, a retired police captain and father of Sr. Insp. Ryan Pabalinas, said the higher ups of the Philippine National Police should get into the bottom of the incident why there were huge casualties on the part of government forces who launched an operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkilfi Bin Hir alias Marwan in the MILF stronghold in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

"I really don't know why only the SAF members were sent to Maguindanao to launch that police operations against suspected terrorists," Pabalinas, who served as intelligence officer of the General Santos City Police Office prior to his retirement in 2013.

He said Ryan, who was the eldest among his five children, graduated from Philippine National Police Academy in 2006. After his graduation from the police academy, he opted to be assigned to PNP-SAF and currently was the operation officer of the 5th Special Action Battalion based in Zamboanga City.

Ryan also took part in the operation against rogue members of Moro National Liberation Front during the siege in Zamboanga City in September 2013.

The slain SAF officer was married to Rica San Juan Pabalinas of Guiwan, Zamboanga City whom they had a three year-old child.

Pabalinas said Ryan together with his family went on vacation to General Santos City during the New Year's break. He said he drove Ryan and his family back from General Santos to Zamboanga City on January 3.

He even convinced Ryan to transfer to local PNP units so that he can be relieved from SAF to avoid greater risks while performing his tasks as a police officer.

"But my son told me he really wanted to stay with the SAF to gain more experience as a police commando," Pabalinas said.

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