Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay said on Wednesday he is confident that there would be conviction on the policemen involved in the fatal Jolo, Sulu shooting incident that killed four army soldiers last month.
Gapay, in a press statement, praised the swift action of the National Bureau of Investigation in filing murder and planting of evidence complaints against the policemen.
“This is a welcome development not only for the Philippine Army, but also for the families of our soldiers who were murdered in cold blood. This is proof that their cry for justice is being heard, and we are confident that we will secure conviction against the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Gapay said.
“I also laud the exemplary professionalism of our troops, who remain steadfast, and faithful to their mandate despite the loss of our Jolo Four. These fallen heroes have actually further fuelled our determination, and resolve to fight terrorism,” he added.
The NBI filed complaints for four counts of murder and planting of evidence against the following police officers:
- PSMS Abdelzhimar H Padjiri
- Police Master Sergeant Hanie U. Baddiri
- P/Staff Sergeant Iskandar I. Susulan
- PSSg Ernisar P. Sappal
- P/Corporal Sulki M. Andaki
- Patrolman Mohammad Nur E. Pasani
- PSSg Almudzrin M. Hadjaruddin
- Patrolman Alkajal J. Mandangan
- Patrolman Rajiv G. Putalan
The NBI also recommended the filing of neglect of duty complaints against the following:
- Sulu provincial police chief Police Colonel Michael Bayawan
- Jolo police chief Police Major Walter Annayo
- Sulu Provincial Drugs Enforcement Unit chief Police Captain Ariel Corcino
The NBI’s legal division underscored that evidence showed the nine police officers killed the four soldiers, who were on a mission, without having the opportunity to defend themselves.
In a separate statement, Armed Forces spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo said the filing of the complaints against the cops “goes beyond what is apparent in the CCTV footage that recorded the incident.”
“Probable cause was found which merited the filing of the cases of murder and planting of evidence against the accused police personnel. We understand that in the rule of law and due process, this is for a long haul,” Arevalo said.
“But we are comforted to note that the first step towards the quest for justice in favor of the four slain Philippine Army soldiers was attained,” he added.
According to Arevalo, the AFP would continue to monitor the developments of the case.
On June 29, the military men were tracking suicide bombers when the shooting incident transpired.
The soldiers were flagged down by cops in Barangay Walled City. Despite identifying themselves as members of the military, they were instructed to go to the police station for further verification of their identities.
According to a police spot report, the shooting incident happened when the soldiers escaped and pointed their weapons at the police officers, prompting the latter to gun them down.
Four of the nine cops tested positive in a paraffin test, according to the NBI./Stacy Ang