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Sinas okays sacking of 9 Jolo cops over death of 4 Army intel officers

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Debold M. Sinas has approved the dismissal from the service of nine policemen accused of killing four Army intelligence officers in Jolo, Sulu last June 29.

The top cop also asked the Department of Justice to fast track the filing of criminal cases against the nine dismissed policemen.

“With the dismissal from service of the nine respondent PNP personnel, we can no longer hold them beyond the maximum allowable period that is why we sought the immediate action of DOJ to file the appropriate criminal case with the corresponding warrant of arrest,” Gen. Sinas said.

Ordered dismissed from the police force were Senor Master Sergeant Abdelzhimar H. Padjiri, Master Sgt. Hanie U. Baddiri, Staff Sergeants Iskandar I. Susulan and Ernisar P. Sappal, Corporal Sulki M. Andaki and Patrolman Moh Nur E Pasani, all members of the Jolo Municipal Police Station; and Staff Sgt. Almudzrin M. Hadjaruddin and Patrolmen Alkajal J. Mandangan and Rajiv G. Putalan of the Sulu Police Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit.

Gen. Sinas explained that the PNP has informed the DOJ investigating panel that if there will be no warrant of arrest issued against the nine PNP respondents within 10 days upon effectivity of the dismissal orders, the respondents will be turned over to their respective families.

“At most, we can only place them under restrictive custody pending formal indictment on criminal charges. Upon their dismissal from the service, the PNP no longer has jurisdiction over them and as such, has no basis to hold them under restrictive custody any further,” he said.

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana lauded the PNP chief’s decision.

“We welcome Gen. Debold Sinas’s approval of the dismissal of the nine police officers involved in the shooting incident in Jolo, Sulu on 29 June 2020, which led to the deaths of four Philippine Army officers and soldiers,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

Lorenzana said the government also sympathizes with the families of the nine dismissed policemen who are facing long jail terms. “Their families are as much a victim of the incident as the families of the soldiers who were killed,” the Defense chief said.

“Moving forward, we hope that the AFP and PNP learn from this incident, and take concrete steps to prevent such things from happening in the future,” the Defense chief added.

The Armed Forces leadership likewise welcomed the PNP decision.

“We understand, however, that the policemen’s separation from the service is an administrative penalty. We are one with the families of our slain soldiers in their quest for the filing of criminal charges against the said members of Jolo Police,” it said while adding they will monitor the development of the case.

“We will ensure that justice is served for the hapless victims who were killed while in the actual performance of their solemn duty. We are optimistic that appropriate penalties will be meted on the perpetrators,” the AFP said in a statement.

“We hope that necessary measures will be instituted by the PNP to prevent the incident from happening again,” the AFP added.

The nine were earlier charged by the National Bureau of Investigation with four counts of murder and “planting” of evidence after it found evidence that the nine police officers killed the soldiers who were reportedly on a mission to track down suicide bombers in Sulu.

The four, two of them officers, were flagged down by the policemen in Barangay Walled City where they were instructed to go to the local police station for further verification of their identities after they identified themselves as AFP personnel.

An initial police report said that the soldiers allegedly escaped and pointed their weapons at the police officers who were forced to fire at the victims killing them right inside their vehicle.

However, an ensuing NBI investigation amid the massive uproar over the death of the four debunked the policemen’s claim. All accused were placed under restrictive custody at Camp Crame.