Ex-PNP chiefs Dela Rosa, Lacson: Avoid escalation of situation after Sulu ‘misencounter’
MANILA, Philippines — The ground commanders of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should defuse the tension as authorities investigate the fatal shooting of four military officers in Sulu, two senators said Tuesday.
In a message to reporters, former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa called for an “impartial” investigation of the incident, which involved nine policemen. Dela Rosa served as PNP chief prior to becoming a senator.
“Impartial investigation has to be done and justice must be served. Proper and constant coordination must be established on the ground at all levels at all times,” Dela Rosa said.
“Ground commanders of both AFP and PNP must difuse (sic) tensions and prevent it from escalating while investigation is ongoing,” he added.
Four soldiers were fatally shot by police officers some 50 meters from the Jolo police station on Monday afternoon. The Western Mindanao Command has requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an impartial probe into the shooting incident.
For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson, also a former PNP chief, underscored the “critical” need for a “speedy but thorough determination of the facts” that led to the “tragic” shooting of the army officers.
“It is wise and proper that both Philippine National Police Chief P/Gen. Archie Gamboa and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. have agreed that the National Bureau of Investigation take full control of the criminal investigation, and allow the evidence to dictate the findings,” Lacson said in a separate statement.
“But the NBI’s investigation results notwithstanding, and more than making fully accountable all those responsible for the incident, the ground commanders of both sides must be in full control of the situation to avoid an escalation of the situation,” the senator added.
He was referring to the immediate superiors of the involved officers, such as the police director of Sulu and the battalion commander of the Army men.
“Our security forces already have their hands full in their fight against their common adversaries such as terrorism and insurgency in Mindanao,” the senator said.
“Allowing disunity in any form would give the enemy an unwanted advantage that could prove fatal for our nation,” he added.
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