MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was “deeply saddened” by the killing of 4 soldiers in Jolo, Sulu, and wants to speak with the 9 policemen who shot them dead, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday, July 1.
Duterte began his meeting with the coronavirus task force on Tuesday night, June 30, by expressing his grief over the “misencounter,” and ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite its probe, Roque said in a GMA news interview.
The President also asked Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for a meeting with the 9 policemen involved in the incident, who are now in detention. Roque did not say when or where this meeting would take place.
“Lungkot na lungkot siya. Ang ginamit nga niyang salita ay siya ay ‘nanlambot, extremely sad,’ at gusto niya na pumunta mismo doon sa lugar kung saan nangyari, kung pupuwede, dahil gusto niyang ma-lift ang morale ng kasundaluhan dahil talagang parang mababa ang morale ng ating mga kasundaluhan. Hindi daw dapat nagpapatayan, nag-i-engkuwentro ang parehong ideolohiya. At sabi niya, sana ito na ang huling misencounter sa kaniyang termino,” Roque said.
(He is deeply saddened. The term he used was “stunned, extremely sad,” and he wants to visit the place where it happened, if possible, because he wants to lift the morale of the soldiers because it seems the soldiers were demoralized. Those who share the same ideology shouldn’t be killing each other in an encounter. And he said he hopes this is the last misencounter in his term.)
On Monday afternoon, 9 cops accosted 4 soldiers of the Army’s intelligence unit on a roving mission in Jolo to track down suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers. At a checkpoint in Barangay Bus-Bus, the cops asked the plainclothes soldiers to join them going to the Jolo municipal police station to verify their identities, according to a military report.
When the soldiers drove some 50 meters past the police station, they stopped and one of them, Major Marvin Indammog, alighted to talk to the police tailing them. Then the cops shot him and his men.
The 9 policemen involved in the incident were:
- Police Staff Sergeant Almudzrin Hadjaruddin;
- Patrolman Alkalaj Mandangan;
- Patrolman Rajiv Putalan;
- Police Senior Master Sergeant Abdelzhimar Padjiri;
- Police Master Sergeant Hanie Baddiri;
- Police Staff Sergeant Iskandar Susulan;
- Police Staff Sergeant Ernisar Sappal;
- Police Corporal Sulki Andaki;
- Patrolman Moh Nur Pasani.
‘Murder, not misencounter’
The police report of the incident claimed the soldiers tried to drive away after passing the police station, and pointed guns at the cops when they were cornered. The police claimed they fired in self-defense, which resulted in a gunbattle that killed the soldiers.
Army chief Lieutenant General Gilber Gapay on Tuesday scored the police report as “fabricated, full of inconsistencies, like a movie, and very misleading.”
Gapay said it was not a misencounter but a “rubout” and “murder.”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police earlier agreed to let the National Bureau of Investigation to handle the probe, to “ensure impartiality” and avoid further tensions between the uniformed services. – Rappler.com