MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has urged Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay to temper his emotions over the killing of four soldiers by police officers in Jolo, Sulu.
“While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need,” Lacson said in a statement on Wednesday.
Gapay earlier denounced the slay of his men, describing the incident as “rubout” and “murder.” He also called for the sacking of Sulu’s police chief following the incident.
Lacson, a former chief of Philippine National Police (PNP), said that “decisiveness, not divisiveness” is needed as he warned that terrorists and armed insurgents may “exploit” the situation.
“For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident — and even making plans to exploit it,” he said.
The senator said the “enemies of the state” are “very capable of fanning the flames of animosity” between the police and military by “creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.”
Lacson also said that enemies of the State, through their legal fronts, have been “sowing disinformation” about the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and the National ID System.
“Ultimately, decisiveness, not divisiveness, is needed in dealing with the enemies of the State and the Filipino people,” he said.
On June 29, four soldiers were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.
Police said the military officers attempted to escape and opened fire at them while on their way to a nearby police station for identity verification. However, the Philippine Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to flee and never fired a single shot towards police officers.
The nine police officers involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have been relieved from their posts.
The National Bureau of Investigation is already conducting a probe into the incident.
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