The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) hailed the decision of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file criminal charges against nine Sulu policemen and three high-ranking Philippine National Police (PNP) officers who were allegedly involved in the killing of four Army intelligence operatives in Jolo, Sulu last 29 June.
In a statement, AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said that the AFP is elated to know that the NBI’s third party investigation has been concluded, followed by the filing of cases to the Department of Justice.
“We understand that in the rule of law and due process, this is for a long haul. But we are comforted to note that the first step towards the quest for justice in favor of the four slain Philippine Army soldiers was attained,” Arevalo said.
He also noted that the AFP leadership under Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. will be intently following the development of this case from filing to prosecution and rendering of judgement.
In a four-page decision memorandum by the NBI, probable cause was found which merited the filling of the cases of murder and planting of evidence against SSg. Iskandar Susulan, SMSg.
Abdelzhimar Padjiri, MSg. Hanie Baddiri, Cpl. Sulki Andaki, SSg. Ernisar Sappal, SSg. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Mohammad Nur Pasani, Pat. Rajiv Putalan and Pat. Alkajal Mandangan.
Charged for neglect of duty were Sulu Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit chief Capt. Ariel Corcino, Sulu Provincial police chief Col. Michael Bawayan and Jolo police chief Maj. Walter Annayao.
Four Army officers — Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula from the Army’s 9th Intelligence Service Unit of the 11th Infantry Division — were killed during the incident, which was initially cited by the PNP as a misencounter while the AFP decried it to be a rubout.
Arevalo said the filing of charges goes beyond what was apparent in the CCTV footage that recorded the incident since it showed only the aftermath of the shooting wherein a group of men in uniform suspected at first to be policemen were inspecting the crime scene.
Philippine Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala clarified that the uniformed men in the viral video were actually soldiers.