MANILA, Philippines – Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) Director PBgen. Manuel Abu has ordered the relief of P/Lt.Col. Walter Annayo of the Jolo Municipal Police Station over the fatal encounter between the police and the military that resulted in the death of four soldiers of the Philippine Army Intelligence Unit.
Police and soldiers engaged in a gunfight near the checkpoint in Sitio Marina, Barangay Walled in Jolo, Sulu on Monday (June 29).
Abu said Annayo was relieved because of his command responsibility over the incident.
“Andito siya sa provincial police office floating muna habang nag-iimbestiga pa [He will stay here at the Sulu Provincial Police Office (PPO) while the investigation is ongoing],” Abu said of Annayo.
Replacing Annayo is P/Lt.Col. Filmore Calip, the former Chief of the 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company.
The nine policemen involved in the encounter are also in the custody of the Sulu PPO.
“Nasa custody na ni PD dito sa provincial headquarters. Dinis-armahan na at isinumite ang kanilang firearms sa Crime Lab for ballistic exam,” Abu explained.
[The Police Director has taken the cops in his custody here at the provincial headquarters. They were disarmed and the firearms were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory for ballistic tests.]
The relief order followed a request of Philippine Army Commanding General Gilbert Gapay to relieve the cops who killed the Army personnel.
Meanwhile, Abu confirmed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already started its investigation on the incident.
The PNP Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS), likewise, is launching a moto propio investigation against the nine policemen involved in the encounter.
PNP-IAS Inspector General Atty. Alfegar Triambulo stressed that the cops will definitely face administrative charges if proven responsible for the death of the four soldiers.
“Fact-finding din kung merong makitaan ng mga lapses. Doon magre-recommend kami kung sino ang kakasuhan,” Trimabulo confirmed.
[We will also do fact-finding to determine the lapses. That’s when we will recommend as to who will be charged.]
“May patay kaya puro grave offenses iyan [There were fatalities so that’s why they are all grave offenses],” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, asked the NBI to fast track the investigation on the matter.
In an interview, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the President wants to personally meet with the nine policemen through the coordination of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
“Without revealing kung kailan at saan mangyayari ang pagpupulong ay hiningi ni Presidente kay Secretary Año na gusto niyang makausap iyong mga pulis. Iyong siyam na pulis na diumano ay nagpaputok duon sa apat na Army personnel,” Roque said.
[Without revealing when and where the meeting will be, the President told Secretary Año that he wanted to meet with the nine cops who allegedly gunned down the four Army personnel.]
Roque said the President was ‘extremely sad’ knowing that the involved were both members of government units.
“Gusto niya na pumunta mismo duon sa lugar dahil gusto niyang ma-lift ang morale ng kasundaluhan. Sinabi niya na sana ito na ang huling misencounter sa kanyang termino,” Roque added.
[He wanted to personally go to the site and lift the morale of our soldiers. He hopes this will be the last misencounter under his term.] —MNP (with EXCLUSIVE report from Lea Ylagan)
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