The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) want a full-blown investigation on Monday’s alleged misencounter between police officers and soldiers in Jolo, Sulu, that left four members of the military dead.
Army commander Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay on Tuesday said that according to witnesses, the killed soldiers did not do anything to provoke the involved Sulu cops.
“Based on eyewitness accounts, no altercation transpired between the two parties, nor was there any provocation on the part of Army personnel to warrant such carnage,” he said in a press statement.
“Furthermore, no agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are involved, and this is not an anti-drug operation,” Gapay added.
Gapay said the soldiers were doing their work at Barangay Busbos to identify the location of terrorists in the area.
The AFP, meanwhile, expressed condolences to the families of the killed soldiers. Gapay also assured them that “[t]here will be no let up in our quest for truth and justice.”
The initial report of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Philippine National Police, Jolo Municipal Police Station (MPS), and Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit cops were on patrol in Barangay Bus-Bus when they spotted a Gray Montero SUV at around 2:40 pm Monday. Onboard the vehicle are four men.
The said four men identified themselves as AFP members. Out of suspicion, the police officers stopped SUV and ordered its passengers to proceed to the Jolo police station “for verification.”
When they arrived at the station, the four men fled going to the direction of Barangay San Raymundo, said the police report.
The four men eventually stopped and were already armed when they disembarked.
“The said persons lifted and pointed their firearms towards PNP personnel; However, before they could pull the trigger, the PNP personnel were able to shoot them in defense,” the report said.
WestMinCom Commander Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said the incident seems like “overkill.”
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also extended its condolences to the bereaved families of AFP soldiers killed in Sulu.
“The PNP leadership extends its deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of two Philippine Army officers and two enlisted men who died in the unfortunate incident,” it said in a statement Monday