Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Wesmincom chief says Jolo incident 'seems overkill'

COTABATO CITY -  The Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) is saddened by the unfortunate demise of four operatives working for the Intelligence Service Unit (ISU) of the Philippine Army when they were mistaken as enemies by police operatives manning a checkpoint in Barangay Busbos, Jolo, in Sulu this afternoon.

“It’s seems overkill, wala namang makitang mga baril, we want an impartial investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation,” said Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana, Wesmincom Commander on a phone interview this evening.

Photos circulating in social media show three men lying on cemented road but no firearms could be seen, yet several bullets were traced by Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) that are marked by flaglets.

Military reports said that four members of the 9th ISU conducting intelligence-gathering by interception of signals (SIGINT) were aboard a gray SUV (Montero) when they were mistakenly fired upon by police personnel of Jolo and Police Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) personnel assigned in the area.
Killed instantly is the commanding officer of the unit, Major Marvin Indamog, Captain Irwin Managuelod, Sergeant Eric Velasco, and Corporal Abdal Asula.

The four intelligence operatives were tracking the location of reported suicide bombers under the group of Mundi Sawajaan in coordination with Joint-Task Force Sulu and the 11th Infantry Division.

“It could be a lapse of judgement call from the part of the PNP personnel when they immediately opened fire, admittedly there is a high level of paranoia among those assigned government forces in Jolo,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana elaborated that yesterday is the first year anniversary of the first suicide attack in the history of the Philippines.

He referred to the case of Arman Lasuca and an accomplice, ripped-off a bomb attached to his body while in a checkpoint in Indanan, Sulu June 28 last year that killed eight people including three soldiers and the bombers.

A few weeks ago, members of the same group attacked a police checkpoint in Parang, Sulu wherein three police personnel were killed.

According to a  police report, however, it was around 2:40 p.m. that the victim soldiers were first sighted in Sitio Marina, Barangay Walled City in downtown Jolo.
Police personnel, together with Police Drug Enforcement Unit, spotted them while conducting a patrol at Barangay Bus-bus.

When confronted by the Philippine National Police team, the men introduced themselves as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They were then directed to proceed to Jolo MPS for verification.

Upon arrival at the station, police said the men fled toward Martirez, Barangay San Raymundo.

When PNP personnel chased them, the police said the men disembarked from their vehicle with firearms. The men pointed their firearms towards the personnel, however, before they could pull the trigger, the police was able to shoot them in defense, the report said.

Source: -- BAP, GMA News