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Jolo cops in slay of 4 soldiers disarmed

 

BY AARON RECUENCO / NONOY LACSON

 

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ALL the policemen involved in the death of four soldiers, including two middle-ranking officers, in an alleged shootout in Sulu were disarmed and restricted in the quarters as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) prepares to start its investigation.

Upon the order of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, the policemen involved in the killing of the four soldiers were placed under the custody of the Sulu Provincial Police director.

The policemen shot and killed Maj. Marvin Indamog, commanding officer of the 9th intelligence service unit (9th ISU) of the military; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, of the Field Station (FS), both stationed in Jolo, Sulu; Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.

Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the order to restrict the operatives of Jolo Municipal Police Station involved is part of the immediate administrative action that the national police leadership has initiated amid the controversy surrounding the death of the four Army troopers.

The local police, in a report submitted to Camp Crame in Quezon City, earlier stated that they just defended themselves as the four soldiers tried to fire at them during a car chase in Jolo on Monday afternoon.

The local police earlier ordered the four men on board a Sports Utility Vehicle to proceed to the police station although they identified themselves as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The police report stated that as they arrived in the police station, the vehicle sped off which triggered a car chase and eventually a shootout.

 

MEN ON OFFICIAL MISSION

Military commanders in Western Mindanao were reportedly furious upon learning of the incident and demanded an impartial investigation, saying they also received reports contradicting the statement of the local police.

The military commanders confirmed that the slain four men were soldiers who were on an official mission.

Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCon) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said, “We want an impartial investigation into the incident to be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).”

Sobejana said the soldiers were killed by policemen without reasons since the soldiers were unarmed at that time.

The incident took place few meters away from the Jolo Police Station located at Sitio Marina, Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu at about 2:30 p.m., Monday.

Joint Task Force Sulu (JTF-Sulu) commander Maj. Gen. Corelito Vinluan, in his report to Sobejana, said that prior to the incident, the four soldiers on board an SUV technical van (gray Montero) conducted a surveillance operation in Barangay Mauboh, Patikul, Sulu targeting two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) suicide bombers under the group of Mundi Sawadjaan in coordination with the task force and 11th Infantry Division (11th ID).

According Vinluan, at about 2:15 p.m., Monday, Maj. Indamog posted a message on the Joint Intelligent Task Group (JITG) telegram that they are pulling out of the target area.

Vinluan said that according to one of the ISU personnel on board a motorcycle trailing the Montero van, they were flagged down at the PNP checkpoint midway to the Jolo town proper.

After some discussions, they were allowed to pass and accordingly would meet at the Jolo Police Station, the witness continued.

Upon reaching the Jolo town proper, the Montero van parked about 50 meters ahead of the Jolo Police Station.

Then the PNP mobile car parked at the back of the Montero van and the cops confronted Maj. Indamog who came out of the vehicle unarmed.

While they were talking, the policemen immediately shot the military officer without provocation while the other cops opened fire at the vehicle were the three other soldiers were on board.

After the incident, the PNP car immediately left the scene and fled towards unknown direction, the witnesses to the incident said.

The two officers died on the spot along with the two other personnel who served as their security escorts. The Army officers were both graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

“The PNP leadership extends its deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of two Philippine Army officers and two enlisted men who died in the unfortunate incident of a misencounter with PNP personnel in Jolo, Sulu this afternoon,” said Banac.

“The PNP and AFP officials in Sulu have agreed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Office in Zamboanga City will conduct and lead the investigation to ensure impartiality and to eliminate any suspicion of undue influence,” said Banac.

Banac said the Regional Director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Administrative Region, Brig. Gen. Manuel Abu, has been instructed to extend full administrative and operational support to the NBI.

As of Tuesday, Sulu Police provincial director Col. Michael Cardiogan Bawayan, Jr. has informed Sobejana that the five policemen involved in the shooting of AFP troopers were already in his custody, as ordered by Police General Archie Gamboa.

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