Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento yesterday announced the creation of a four-man panel of prosecutors that will handle the preliminary investigation on nine policemen implicated in the death of four Army officers during an alleged 'misencounter' in Jolo, Sulu last June 29.
The panel shall be composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra as chairperson, Assistant State Prosecutor Consuelo Corazon Pazziuagan, Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso, and Prosecution Attorney Gino Angelo Yanga.
Recently, the National Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint before the Department of Justice against nine policemen implicated in the death of four Army officers in Jolo, Sulu.
Facing murder and planting of evidence were Staff Sgts. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Iskandar Susulan and Ernisar Sappal; Patrolmen Alkajal Mandangan, Rajiv Putalan and Moh Nur Pasani; Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, M/Sgt. Hanie Baddiri and Cpl Sulki Andaki.
Also charged with neglect of duty under the principle of command responsibility were PCol Michael Bayawan head of the Sulu Provincial Police Office, PMaj Walter Annayo head of the Jolo Municipal Police Station and PCPT Ariel J Corcino of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit.
"Respectfully transmitted for preliminary investigation are the result of the joint investigation conducted by the Bureau’s Western Mindanao Regional Office and Death Investigation Division.. with the recommendation that subjects.. be charged with and prosecuted for murder and planting of evidence, " the NBI transmittal report read in part.
The NBI conducted an independent probe into the alleged misencounter between Army officers and policemen in Jolo, Sulu after the leadership of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines have been giving conflicting versions.
The fatalities were identified in a police report from the Jolo municipal police station as Maj.Arvin Indamog, commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Intelligence Service Unit (9ISU), Capt. Irwin Managuelod, field station commander, and intelligence operatives Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.
Reports from the Sulu Provincial Police Office said the policemen involved claimed self-defense after the soldiers supposedly lifted and pointed their firearms first to the police.
The report added that the incident occurred when the soldiers allegedly tried to flee the police station after they were brought in for questioning.
The Army, however, refuted the claims, calling the initial police report as “fabricated” and “misleading.”
Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala Jr. maintained that the troops could not have engaged the policemen in a firefight as they had "properly coordinated and identified themselves" as soldiers.