Philippine Army commanding general Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay “is enraged and demands that a full-blown investigation must be conducted on the death of four soldiers from the hands of PNP (Philippine National Police) forces,” the Philippine Army said in a statement June 30.
The Army said at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon of June 29, 2020, a military intelligence team on board a sport utility vehicle composed of two officers and two enlisted personnel under the 11th Infantry Division were hot on the trail of Abu Sayyaf members, bomb makers, and suicide bombers in Sulu province.
“They were flagged down by personnel of Jolo Municipal Police Station who were manning a checkpoint in Jolo town proper. Even after properly identifying themselves, the police personnel approached and fired upon them for still unknown reasons,” it added.
Lieutenant General Gapay said “The soldiers were on a mission to identify the location of known terrorists in the area.”
“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. Furthermore, no agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are involved and this is not an anti-drug operation. The Army grieves and condoles with the families of our fallen men. There will be no let up in our quest for truth and justice,” the Army chief said.