The Senate should initiate an investigation into the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence officers by police personnel in Jolo, Sulu to shed light on the incident and give justice to the victims, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said.
“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.
“An independent and impartial investigation will help bring out the truth so that the victims and their families find justice,” the veteran legislator added.
Based on initial reports, the seasoned lawmaker noted at least two versions of the incident coming from the military and police.
According to one version, the slain four Army intelligence men, including a major and a captain, were trying to locate a suspected foreign suicide bomber believed to be with the local Abu Sayyaf group when their vehicle was stopped at a police checkpoint in Jolo.
Despite identifying themselves, police personnel still shot them.
The other version from the police report narrates that Jolo policemen were on patrol with anti-illegal drug agents in Barangay Bus-Bus when they spotted a sports utility vehicle with four armed men, who later fled. The police version said the Jolo police officers shot the unidentified men in self-defense.
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment.”
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.
Amid the encounter, he also called on military and police ground commanders to rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.
“We should be going after the common enemy, not against each other.”
“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,” Pangilinan concluded.