Army denies claim by police official soldier was involved in illegal drugs
The Philippine Army denies the allegation of a police director that Corporal Abdal Asula, one of the four soldiers allegedly killed by policemen in Sulu, has links to a drug syndicate.
"On the part of Asula with that rumor that he is involved I have already order an investigation when I was the Western Mindanao Command commander through the 11th Infantry Division, nothing came out that Cpl. Asula has involvement on any of the drug syndicate if there is existing there in Jolo," Army Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.
"As far as we are concerned, we have internal cleasing within our organization, so we see that he does not have any involvement. Now it was alleged by him, by (Brig.) Gen. (Manuel) Abu (Bangsamoro Police Regional Office Chief) so it is. The burden of proof is on him. He has to prove that there is really an involvement," he added.
Sobejana said the Philippine Army always assures their personnel are not involved in illegal drugs.
"We ensure that there is no involvement on illegal drugs within the Philippine Army... once you are involved in drugs, immediately you will be discharged. Our procedure on that is we require them to undergo drug testing, confirmed by PDEA ( Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority). When the PDEA result comes out, outright he will be discharged," he said.
Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman. call the illegal drug allegation against Asula a "desperate attempt to besmirch" his reputation.
"That is a obviously a desperate attempt by the assailants to besmirch the reputation of Corporal Asula to justify or to divert the attention away from the senseless killing of the soldiers," he said.
Police earlier invoked self-defense even if investigation by the NBI and eye-witness accounts show there was no unlawful aggression or sufficient provocation to warrant the shooting, Arevalo said.
''And now, the vilification of one of the slain soldiers'', Arevalo stated.
"The local police are coming up with all sorts of falsities to attempt to shirk criminal, civil, and administrative responsibilities for the murder of the four AFP personnel," he added. Robina Asido/DMS