Pangilinan wants Senate to probe killing of 4 Army men in Jolo
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday called for an “independent” Senate investigation into the June 29 incident in Jolo, Sulu, where four Philippine Army men were shot and killed by policemen.
“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement.
(This news is alarming. The anti-terror bill has yet to become law but an incident like this already happened. What can an ordinary citizen do?)
“An independent and impartial investigation will help bring out the truth so that the victims and their families find justice,” he added.
The 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 incident.
According to the Army, the four military intelligence officers were tracking two suspected foreign suicide bombers who are believed to be with the local Abu Sayyaf group when their vehicle was stopped at a police checkpoint in Jolo.
The Army officers had identified themselves to the policemen. However, they still ended up being shot and killed near the police station.
But the police have a different version of what had happened.
According to the Sulu police, its men stopped the vehicle carrying the intelligence officers and instructed them to go to a nearby police station for verification of identities.
As the police team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ SUV allegedly sped off, supposedly prompting a car chase. Police said they only defended themselves as the soldiers opened fire.
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment,” Pangilinan said.
“If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” he added.
The senator, nevertheless, called on the military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert the escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”
“We should be going after the common enemy – terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID – not against each other,” he also pointed out.
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