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MISENCOUNTER IN SAMAR

Mistaken clash: Buck stops with Duterte, says Roque

The buck stops with the President.

This, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, was President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand on the mistaken clash between soldiers and policemen in a Samar town that killed six of the policemen.

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Roque said the P4esident did not want any finger-pointing on who was to blame for the clash.

“It’s to end the blame game,” Roque said on Sunday.

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“Spoken like a true leader, the buck stops with him,” he added.

A platoon of the 8th Infantry Battalion and 33 policemen from the Regional Mobile Force clashed in the village of San Roque, Santa Rita town, Samar, an area where New People’s Army rebels operate.

The clash killed six policemen and wounded nine others.

Unfortunate

The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines are investigating the gunfight.

Roque said the clash was an “unfortunate incident, which should not happen again.”

“Closer coordination can be expected between the AFP and the PNP in future ground combat operations,” he added.

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Investigators seek to submit a final report on the clash by Wednesday.

But the AFP version of events leading to the clash ruled out ambush.

In a phone interview on Sunday, AFP Inspector General Rafael Valencia said the AFP-PNP board of inquiry agreed to finalize the report on Wednesday.

Valencia said the board could recommend changes in policies as a result of the clash.

Investigators focused on possible lapses in protocol and coordination between the soldiers and policemen.

On-site inspection

Members of the board conducted an inspection of the site of the clash on Friday.

Valencia said there was no ambush by soldiers on the policemen “for the elements of it were not present.”

“A critical factor in an ambush is that attackers are pre-positioned and the target is moving,” Valencia said.

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TAGS: 8th Infantry Battalion, Harry Roque, PNP Regional Mobile Force, Rodrigo Duterte, Samar misencounter
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