Arrival honors at Villamor for 3 of 4 soldiers killed by cops in Sulu rendered

Three of the four soldiers who were killed in Jolo, Sulu last June 29 arrived at Villamor Airbase and were honored by the Philippine Army, Kalinaw News said afternoon of June 30.

Kalinaw News photo

The Philippine 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,” the Philippine Army added.

Philippine Army commanding general Lieutenant General Gilbert I. 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.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac has said the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have agreed that the NBI Regional Office in Zamboanga City will conduct and lead the investigation to ensure impartiality and eliminate any suspicion of undue influence.

“As an immediate administrative action, all personnel involved in the incident, particularly from the Jolo MPS (Municipal Police Station) are restricted to quarters in preparation for the NBI’s investigation,” Banac added.