Court orders arrest of 9 ex-cops in Jolo ‘rubout’
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Sulu has finally ordered the arrest of nine dismissed policemen accused of killing four military intelligence agents in Jolo more than six months ago, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday.
Sulu RTC Branch 3 on Thursday issued the warrant of arrest for former policemen Abdelzhimar Padjiri, Hannie Baddiri, Iskandar Susulan, Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Erniskar Sappal, Sulki Andaki, Mohd Nur Pasani, Alkajal Mandangan and Rajiv Putalan.
The nine policemen were accused of murdering Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Cpl. Abdal Asula and Sgt. Jaime Velasco—all members of the 9th Army Intelligence Service Unit who were pursuing suspected terrorists in Jolo on June 29 last year.
The soldiers were pursuing two terrorists linked to Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, who is believed to be responsible for several bombings in Mindanao, including two bombings in Jolo on Aug. 24, 2020, that killed 14 people and injured 78 others.
Prosecutors had earlier complained of the delay in the issuance of an arrest order for the nine accused but that was because RTC Branch 3 Presiding Judge Greace Tillah Alasco was outside of Sulu province when it was locked down because of the new coronavirus variant found in nearby Malaysia.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta assigned another judge, Alsad Halil Alfad of Siasi of Sulu RTC Branch 25, to manage Branch 3 until Alasco’s return. He signed the warrant a day after his assignment.
Prosecutors took more than six months to file charges on Jan. 4, even later than the resolution of administrative charges against the nine accused, who were dismissed from service on Jan. 1.
Their dismissal prompted the Philippine National Police to release the accused, purportedly because there were no grounds to detain them after they were dismissed from the service.
Guevarra said he would order the National Bureau of Investigation to locate and to arrest the nine former policemen, adding that a hold-departure order was released against the dismissed policemen to prevent them from leaving the country.
“I will direct the NBI to help implement the service of these court processes,” Guevarra told the Inquirer.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed the warrant of arrest for the nine former policemen.
“Albeit issued belatedly, we are glad that the RTC Branch 3 of Jolo found probable cause to issue warrant for the arrest of the nine suspects in the murder of four Army Intelligence [agents],” Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson for the AFP, said in a statement on Friday.
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