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Senators slam Jolo 'rubout,' express readiness to tackle issue in legislative probe
( - July 3, 2020 - 5:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Friday slammed the “rubout” in Jolo, Sulu that led to the death of four soldiers as they expressed readiness to tackle the issue in a legislative hearing.

Sen. Richard Gordon, in a statement on Friday, called on President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct a “top level investigation” on all officials of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

“There is a need to investigate and determine what is wrong with the policy that incidents such as these occur,” he added.

Police and the military agreed to let the NBI conduct an independent probe into the incident where Jolo cops shot four intelligence personnel of the Army. This was after two vastly different accounts were given by the two parties.

The police initially labelled it as a “misencounter,” which the military rejected with Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, Army commanding general, slamming the PNP’s account as “fabricated, full of inconsistencies and misleading.” The police later on clarified that the slain soldiers did not fire their guns.

Senate probe

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, meanwhile, said that the Senate’s Committees on national defense, and public order and dangerous drugs “are ready to investigate if needed.”

Go, who visited the wake of three of the four soldiers, sits as vice chairperson of both Senate panels.

On Thursday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution calling on her colleagues to launch a legislative probe into the incident and “institutionalize measures against the excessive use of force and violence within the police force.”

"The incident in Jolo further feeds the public's distrust toward the [national police]. Especially since this is not the first time this has happened...our police cannot be trigger-happy," Hontiveros said in a mix of English and Filipino.

RELATED: NBI: One soldier in Jolo incident with police shot eight times

Sen. Leila De Lima also said that the “Jolo rubout” was a “logical and inevitable consequence of the [extra-judicial killing] campaign started by the PNP upon the command of Duterte in 2016.”

In her latest dispatch from her detention place at the police headquarters, De Lima said that the president allowing the police forces to “conduct summary executions without any criminal liability....bred and reared monstrous impunity.”

“It was just a matter of time before his police impunity, recognizing no boundaries, would claim as its latest victims even Army troopers who were previously thought to be safe from marauding PNP hit squads,” she added.

De Lima said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines must now realize that “it cannot go on letting itself to be used by the very man responsible for the PNP’s criminal acts.”

Duterte is set to go to Mindanao and meet with police and military officials, as well as the nine Jolo police involved in the incident. — Kristine Joy Patag

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