In Jolo ‘misencounter’
THE Department of Justice is set to indict nine policemen, who were recently dismissed from service, for four counts of murder in connection with the Jolo, Sulu misencounter that killed four Army officers last June 29.
This was after probable cause was established against them during preliminary investigation of the case at the DOJ in Manila.
In a resolution, the respondent-lawmen to be charged with four counts of murder are Senior Master Sergeant Abdelzhimar Padjiri, Master Sergeant Hannie Baddiri, Staff Sergeants Iskandar Susulan and Erniskar Sappal, Corporal Sulki Andaki and Patrolman Moh Nur Pasani from the Jolo Municipal Police Station; and Staff Sergeant Almudzrin Hadjaruddin and Patrolmen Alkajal Mandangan.
The offense is non-bailable.
“The killing was attended/qualified by treachery. The victims were unarmed, unsuspecting, and were not in the position to defend themselves when they were shot. The autopsy and post-mortem examination results reveal that the victims succumbed to the multiple gunshot wounds inflicted at the back of their bodies,” the resolution read.
Likewise, government prosecutors found probable cause against them for the charge planting of evidence under Section 38 of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
On the other hand, the DOJ dismissed the charge of neglect of duty against the police officers’ superiors, namely P/Col. Michael Bawayan Jr., P/Maj. Walter Annayo, and P/Capt. Ariel Corcino.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento to immediately file the criminal information before the regular courts.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has conducted an independent probe into the alleged misencounter between Army officers and policemen in Jolo, Sulu after the leadership of the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines have been giving conflicting versions.
The fatalities were identified in a police report from the Jolo municipal police station as Maj. Arvin Indamog, commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Intelligence Service Unit (9ISU), Capt. Irwin Managuelod, field station commander, and intelligence operatives Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.
Reports from the Sulu Provincial Police Office said the policemen involved claimed self-defense, after the soldiers supposedly lifted and pointed their firearms first to the police.
The report added that the incident occurred when the soldiers allegedly tried to flee the police station after they were brought in for questioning.
The Army, however, refuted the claims, calling the initial police report as “fabricated” and “misleading.”
Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala Jr. maintained that the troops could not have engaged the policemen in a firefight as they had “properly coordinated and identified themselves” as soldiers.