Army chief alleges Sulu incident ''murder'', ''rubout'
Army chief Lt. General Gilbert Gapay claimed that the killing of four intelligence officers allegedly by policemen in Sulu "murder" and "rubout".
"Yes it was murder. It is murder,", Gapay said in an interview with reporters during the arrival of the bodies of three Army personnel in Villamor Air Base on Tuesday.
Killed were Major Marvin Indamog, commander of the 9th Intelligence Service Unit (ISU); Captain Irwin Managuelod, field service commander of the same unit; Sgt. Eric Velasco; and Corporal Abdal Asula, both personnel of the 9th ISU.
Asula will be buried in Sulu.
"We were enraged and you know we are upset on what happened to the Army personnel who were murdered by the policemen in Jolo," he added.
Gapay emphasized that there was no misencounter as his soldiers did not fire their guns.
"First of all there was never a firefight. There was no gunfight. Our men never fired a single shot. There were witnesses. There were CCTVs and we have personnel tailing. It's SOPs (standard operating procedure)," he said.
"There is no misencounter our soldiers did not fire their guns... they know these are PNP personnel that's why. If there was misencounter, do you think none of the PNP will be shot? So there was no misencounter here. It was a rubout," he added.
Despite the incident, Gapay lauded the Army commander for handling the situation professionally.
"It was very tense in Jolo last night, and you know our troops are there, and everybody was really uptight. But you know, we are very professional. We do not do that. They listen to their commanders and kudos to our commanders who were able to control emotions in Jolo last night,'' said Gapay.
''Even up to today, no untoward incident happened. So we are very professional. Emotions don't get in the way," he said.
Gapay said there were nine policemen involved in the shooting incident.
"Around four to five of them fired their guns. The others served as lookout and after they have killed all the soldiers they fled.Is that an SOP? When someone died you have to cordon the area and wait for SOCO (scene of the crime operatives). But they all ran. So what is the meaning of that? This is another thing we want to find out in the investigation," he said.
Gapay expects '' heads will roll here.''
"Those that are liable should be punished to the max and we are invoking command responsibility here from the municipal police station commander to the provincial commander of the PNP in Sulu as a minimum because commanders should be on top always of the situation. They are responsible for what their men do, so we are also invoking command responsibility here," he added.
Gapay said the Philippine flags in all Army camps in the country were flown at half mast.
"I have ordered all flags in all Army camps nationwide to be flown half mast to mourn our great loss and also in sympathy for the families of our fallen comrades," he said. Robina Asido/DMS