The Philippine Army today insisted that four soldiers who were killed by cops in Jolo, Sulu did not provoke the policemen in any way during their encounter.
The Jolo police were on patrol when they saw a gray Mitsubishi Montero carrying the four soldiers in the village of Walled City at about 2:40pm yesterday. The group introduced themselves as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines but they were told to go to the police station to prove their identity.
However, the cops said that upon their arrival at the station, the soldiers fled to the village of San Raymundo, leading to a chase. When the cops caught up with the soldiers, the latter group allegedly disembarked from their Montero and threatened to shoot at the policemen. The cops alleged that they killed the entire group out of self-defense.
Not a single member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) died from the encounter.
In a statement, the Philippine Army said they learned from witnesses that the soldiers did nothing wrong to deserve being killed by the policemen.
“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,” Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay said.
“Furthermore, no agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are involved and this is not an anti-drug operation,” he said, and added that the four soldiers were in the area to search for terrorists.
Meanwhile, the PNP said today that it will cooperate with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the agency probing the slays.
“As an immediate administrative action, all personnel involved in the incident, particularly from the Jolo Municipal Police Station, are restricted to quarters in preparation for the NBI’s investigation,” spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac said in a statement released yesterday.
He added that the PNP extends “its deepest condolences to the family and colleagues” of the killed soldiers.
It was just two months ago when a member of the Quezon City police shot to death a retired soldier, who was suffering from post-traumatic disorder, for allegedly breaking quarantine rules. However, the NBI filed cases of murder, perjury, and planting of evidence against the cops and his cohorts.
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