“This was not a misencounter. This was murder. This was a rubout,” said Army Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, therefore, he called for a full-blown investigation.
According to Gapay, the soldiers did nothing to provoke or push the police to carry out such a shooting.
“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,” the press statement said.
He said no Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was present and so it could not be called an anti-drug operation.
According to AFP-Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, the four soldiers assigned to the 11th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army were on an official mission where their operations targeted two suspected suicide bombers of the Abu Sayyaf.
A report by the PNP-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Spokesperson Jemar Delos Santos said the four soldiers were on board Montero SUV and was blocked at the checkpoint. The men identified themselves as soldiers.
The four were directed to the Jolo Municipal Police Station for verification, but the four men, who were later identified as members of the AFP intelligence unit, allegedly fled. The soldiers reportedly targeted the police, resulting in an encounter.
The deceased were identified as Maj. Marvin Indamog, Capt. Iriwin Managuelod, Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.
According to the witness, police got out of their vehicle and ‘confronted’ Indamog, who also came down in the car unarmed.
While the two were talking to each other, a policeman suddenly shot Indamog while other policemen shot 3 other soldiers inside the Montero.
Police immediately left the area after the shooting.
According to Gapay, the soldiers were unarmed.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted Tuesday that the Jolo shooting incident is a misencounter, spokesman Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said.
Banac noted in a television interview that the incident taught the entire police force a big lesson, citing PNP would implement measures so the unfortunate event would not happen again.