Arrest warrants out vs cops in Jolo shooting

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A court in Jolo, Sulu has issued arrest warrants for nine police officers accused of killing four Army intelligence officers last year.

Honey Delgado, spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor General, said the arrest warrants were issued on Thursday.

Abdelzhimar Padjiri, Hanie Baddiri, Iskanda Susulan, Ernisar Sappal, Sulki Andaki, Moh Nur Pasani, Admudzrin Hadjaruddin, Alkajal Mandangan and Rajiv Patulan are facing charges of murder and planting of evidence in connection with the killing of Maj. Arvin Indamog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.

The soldiers were conducting surveillance operations against suspected suicide bombers when they were allegedly shot dead by the police officers on June 29 last year.

Delgado said they are waiting for the release of hold-departure orders against the dismissed cops. “Warrants were issued on Thursday. HDO hearing today,” he said.

The suspects were released from police custody early this week as  the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to secure arrest warrants after Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas approved their dismissal from the service.

The DOJ said the lockdown imposed in Sulu to prevent the entry of a new coronavirus strain detected in Sabah, Malaysia caused the delay in the issuance of the arrest warrants. The charges against the nine were filed on Jan. 4.

Arrest them

With the arrest warrants out, the Sulu police was ordered to arrest the dismissed police officers.

”Hopefully they are with their families. Otherwise, the police will hunt them if they hide or flee from their impending arrest,” PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Idlebrandi Usana said.

He said they are not yet considering the accused as fugitives at this time.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to run after the suspects.

“The court issued the arrest warrants and hold-departure orders against all the accused. I will direct the NBI to implement the service of these processes,” Guevarra said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo urged the suspects to surrender lest authorities ”vigorously search, find and deliver them to court without delay.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the issuance of arrest warrants.

“That’s good news. Now the PNP has legal basis to arrest them,” Lorenzana said. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Romina Cabrera, Michael Punongbayan

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