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Duterte hopes Jolo shooting won't spark animosity between military, police
Alexis Romero ( - July 14, 2020 - 5:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed hope that the Sulu shooting incident, which claimed the lives of four soldiers, would not spark animosity between the military and the police.

Speaking to soldiers in Jolo last Monday, Duterte said justice would be served in the incident, which is being probed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

"Recently, it has been a difficult time for our men and women in uniform due to the escalating tensions between the military and the terrorist groups. On top of this, we have the deaths of your fellow soldiers where certain members of the Philippine National Police were involved," the president said.

"I already tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to do justice by conducting an immediate and impartial investigation to ferret out the truth... It is my hope that this isolated incident will not spark any animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP (Philippine National Police)," he added.

Four Army intelligence personnel were shot dead by policemen in Jolo last June but the police and the military have different accounts of the incident. Police reports said the shooting incident happened after the soldiers had refused to proceed to the municipal police station to validate their identities. The military, however, claimed that the Army personnel were unarmed and called the incident "murder."

"As your commander-in-chief, I grieve for our fallen men. I convey my deepest condolences to you for the death of your comrades," Duterte said.

"As your commander-in-chief and as president of the Republic of the Philippines, I assure you that I will see to it that the truth will come out be it in favor of the police or the military. I just want to know what really happened. So you can rest assured that justice will be done to the family and to the troops here in Jolo," he added.

Duterte thanked the soldiers for their "undying service, especially during these trying times." He lamented that "lawless elements" are still disrupting public order as the government is fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

"Remember that our progress as a nation has been for decades hindered by insurgency and terrorism. That is why you have my utmost respect as you risk your lives in the name of peace, security, and development efforts in our region," he said.

Duterte vowed to provide the needs of soldiers and their families and to give jobs to those who were injured. The president also announced a plan to ask a friend who is working as a doctor in the United States to work for soldiers. He said his friend, whom he identified as Eddie Boy Lim, is the chief of the Cincinnati Orthopedic Hospital.

"The General Motors in V. Luna, they own it. The guy is simply brilliant. He graduated summa cum laude in UP (University of the Philippines). His sister also graduated summa cum laude. They are doctors. Eddie Boy is practicing in the United States," Duterte said.  

"I hope that if he (comes) home, I'd like him to just be a consultant or actually work for the soldiers. He is really good...He is coming. He comes regularly. This time... I'll try to talk to him if it's possible... if he can come back to do a little service for my soldiers before he retires," he added. 

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