Lacson urges Army chief to temper emotions, says enemies may be celebrating misencounter
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday urged Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay not to let emotions get the better of him over the supposed misencounter between the police and the military in Jolo, Sulu which left four soldiers dead.
Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that “decisiveness, not divisiveness” was needed as he warned that the “enemies of the state” were very capable of sowing divisiveness between the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need,” Lacson said in a statement.
“For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident — and even making plans to exploit it,” he added.
According to Lacson, who also chairs the Senate Committee on National defense, the enemies’ “legal fronts” are very much capable of “fanning the flames of animosity” between the AFP and the PNP.
“Such fronts have demonstrated their capabilities in sowing disinformation about the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and the National ID system, among other measures designed to improve the lives of the people,” he noted.
Gapay denounced on Tuesday what he called the murder of four soldiers who were returning from an intelligence mission when they were allegedly gunned down by police officers in Jolo, Sulu.
A PNP report said the Sulu incident was a “misencounter.” But Gapay said, “It was a rubout.”
The chief of the Jolo Municipal Police Station was already relieved along with the nine police officers involved in the killing of the soldiers.
The National Bureau of Investigation is already conducting an investigation into the incident.
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