MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the disarming of the nine policemen involved in a shooting incident with soldiers in Jolo, Sulu.
Based on the investigation of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the nine policemen responded to a call from a colleague from the Drug Enforcement Unit after seeing an alleged suspicious vehicle believed to have been watching them for days.
“Tawag ng isang taga-DEU na iyong sighted na sasakyan noong isang araw ay nakita na naman doon sa tapat niya,” explained PBGen. Manuel Abu, Director of Police Regional Office – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR).
[There was a call from a member of the Drug Enforcement Unit saying the vehicle that was sighted days before appeared again in the area.]
The official said the nine policemen, who were patrolling in the area at that time, immediately fled to the scene and accosted the four armed men in civilian clothing.
Abu said the soldiers identified themselves but instead of presenting proper documents for identification, the soldiers shouted at the cops.
“Sabi ng pulis para hindi na lamang sila magtalo doon sa daan, doon na lamang sila mag usap sa istasyon for identification talaga,” General Abu continued.
[The cop explained that to avoid an altercation, they invited the men to the police station so they could talk and for proper identification of the men.]
“Pagdating sa police station imbes na tumigil sila, nauuna iyong sasakyan ng Army kasi, tumakbo. Hinabol ng pulis sakay ng mobile. Naka uniform naman ang pulis. Sila ay naka-sibilyan,” he added.
[Upon reaching the police station, the soldier’s vehicle which was at the front of the convoy did not stop. The police mobile chased them. The police were in uniform, they were in civilian clothes.]
The police pursued the soldiers and were able to catch them in the midst of the traffic.
Abu said two of the soldiers got off the vehicle with their firearms on.
“Iyong isa may bitbit na M4 at nagkaputukan na. Iyong isa naka short firearms. So may intensyon,” he said.
[One of them was holding an M4 (rifle) then a gunfight erupted. The other one was holding a shorter firearm. The intention was there.]
The Philippine Army Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM), on the other hand, said that the four men were members of the military intelligence unit and were on official mission thus they were in civilian clothes.
“[The four soldiers] were on official function,” said WESMINCOM Spokesperson Major Arvin Encinas.
“They were doing their jobs during that time at yan po ang malinaw at sila po ay binaril ng [and it’s very clear that they were shot by] PNP personnel,” he added.
The DILG has now placed the involved policemen under custody at the PNP Provincial Headquarters and were asked to surrender their firearms for ballistic tests.
For now, both the leadership of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) agreed to allow the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to handle the investigation for impartiality.
“Gusto po naming mabigyan ng kasagutan ang lahat ng mga [We want to get answers for all the] allegations on both side,” Encinas noted.
The four soldiers killed in the incident were:
- Major Marvin Indammog;
- Capt. Irwin Managuelod;
- Sgt. Jaime Velasco: and
- Corporal Abdal Asula
MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
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