Clarifying his earlier pronouncement, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said what happened was a shooting incident.
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PNP on soldiers’ slay: Shooting, not misencounter
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  —  The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday admitted that the incident involving policemen and Army troopers in Jolo, Sulu on Monday that left four soldiers dead was not a “misencounter.”

Clarifying his earlier pronouncement, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said what happened was a shooting incident.

During a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Monday night, President Duterte ordered an investigation and instructed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to immediately conduct the probe.

Duterte said he would visit Sulu with regard to the incident that resulted in the killing of Maj. Marvin Indamog, commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Intelligence Service Unit; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula, who were reportedly in Jolo tracking down suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists when the policemen opened fire at them.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa sacked from their posts Staff Sgts. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Iskandar Susulan and Ernisar Sappal; Patrolmen Alkajal Mandangan, Rajiv Putalan and Moh Nur Parsani; Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, M/Sgt. Hanie Baddiri and Cpl. Sulki Andaki.

The PNP and the Army vowed that the Sulu incident would not affect the camaraderie between the two government forces.

Banac said the initial report submitted by the Sulu Provincial Police Office (SPPO) stated the soldiers never fired their firearms at the policemen.

“Based on our cursory review of the report, we did not see that the soldiers fired shots,” Banac said.

The police report showed that the soldiers drew their firearms, which prompted the policemen to shoot them. However, Banac clarified that the information has to be verified by the NBI.

Banac earlier described the incident as a “misencounter,” which did not sit well with Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, who said their soldiers were murdered.

Gapay assured the people that the incident in Sulu will not affect the relationship between the military and police.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) yesterday started its own probe on the incident.

IAS inspector general Alfegar Triambulo ordered the probe, given the gravity of the incident which he described as not ordinary.

“We acted already because the mandate of the IAS is to conduct a motu proprio investigation on incidents like this,” he said in a text message.

Triambulo instructed their field investigators at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to gather evidence to determine if the police officers involved are administratively liable.

The policemen, all residents of Sulu, were relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte is “extremely sad” over the killing of four soldiers and wants to speak with the policemen involved in the incident. ?

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said yesterday that the Senate should initiate an investigation into the incident.

“This news is alarming. The Anti-Terrorism Bill is not yet a law and yet these things happen. What protection would ordinary people have,” Pangilinan said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on national defense and security, however warned the people not to believe in disinformation and other interest groups seeking to exploit the incident to divide government forces.

Lacson said he understands how Army chief Gapay feels about the slain officers but “emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need.”

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list  Rep. Jericho Nograles branded as a whitewash the excuse used by the PNP in its purported misencounter with the four Army soldiers in Sulu.

“The usage of the term misencounter looks like an early indication of a whitewash. How can the PNP already claim this was a misencounter when they have not even conducted a thorough investigation on this case?” Nograles added.  Michael Punongbayan, Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero, Romina Cabrera, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Edith Regalado, Gilbert Bayoran, John Unson

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