MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is calling for an inquiry into the killing of four soldiers by local policemen in Jolo, Sulu.
“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Monday afternoon, June 29, four members of the Philippine Army were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.
The Army said the four soldiers were on an official mission and were tracking suspected suicide bombers when they were accosted by the local police.
The soldiers, who had been wearing plain clothes, were said to have introduced themselves to the policemen. The cops allegedly told them to go with them to a nearby police station for identity verification.
Initial police report said that as their team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ vehicle allegedly sped off, prompting a car chase.
Police said they only defended themselves when the soldiers opened fire.
The Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers based on eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the soldiers’ vehicle.
Pangilinan said the police and military have different versions of what happened, and an “independent and impartial” Senate probe will “help bring out the truth.”
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan called on military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”
“We should be going after the common enemy — terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID — not against each other,” Pangilinan said.
The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.
The nine policemen involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have also been ordered relieved from their posts pending investigation.
The post Pangilinan seeks Senate probe on fatal shooting of 4 soldiers in Jolo appeared first on UNTV News.