The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday expressed disappointment with the release from custody of nine dismissed members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who were implicated in the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence operatives in Sulu last June 29.
“The AFP Chief-of-Staff General Gilbert Gapay is extremely disappointed with the release from custody of nine members (of) the PNP who are respondents to the murder of four Army Intelligence personnel who were on an anti-terrorism mission when they were gunned down in downtown Jolo,” AFP spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement forwarded to reporters Monday night.
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said they are releasing the nine former police officers to the custody of their families and lawyers as they are still to get a warrant of arrest from the courts.
Sinas said they were forced to release the nine to their relatives and lawyers last week as they do not want to be charged with arbitrary detention.
“It is only unfortunate that despite the (Department of Justice) DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no warrants of arrest have been issued by the court,” Arevalo said.
Despite this development, the AFP spokesperson said they are assuring AFP personnel and relatives of the four slain troopers that the AFP “will continue with our persistent coordination with relevant government agencies for the issuance of the arrest warrants.”
“Once issued, we will help in the immediate and unimpeded service of said warrants to the named police personnel,” he added.
Last week, a panel of prosecutors of the DOJ found probable cause to indict the nine police officers — Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri; M/Sgt. Hanie Baddiri; S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan; S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal; Cpl. Sulki Andaki; Pat. Moh Nur Pasani; S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin; Pat. Alkajal Mandangan; and Pat. Rajiv Putalan for four counts of murder and planting of evidence.
The panel also did not recommend bail for the accused.
Sinas has earlier approved the dismissal from service of the nine police officers. Killed in the June 29, 2020 incident were Maj. Marvin A. Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin B. Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime M. Velasco, 38, and Cpl. Abdal Asula, 33.
The four soldiers were conducting intelligence and monitoring operations against two suspected suicide bombers when gunned down by the nine Jolo police officers. PNA.GOV.PH