Gov’t to continue probe on Samar misencounter

Published July 2, 2018, 3:01 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government will continue the probe into the deadly misencounter between soldiers and policemen in Samar despite President Duterte’s move to take full responsibility for the incident, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the investigation would help determine if there was any neglect committed in the operation to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

He said the President believes there was “complete lack of coordination” between the police and military that led to the unfortunate clash although there was apparently “no criminal intent” on the part of the soldiers.

“Inako na po ng Presidente ang pananagutan dyan sa misecounter na ‘yan kaya na po inako ‘yan ng Presidente para matigil yung sisihan sa panig ng Hukbong sandatahan at sa panig ng Philippine National Police. Bagamat tuloy pa rin ang imbestigasyon dahil ayaw natin maulit ito [The President has taken responsibility for the misencounter to end the blame game between the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police but the investigation will continue because we don’t want it to happen again],” Roque said during a press conference in Leyte.

“Tanggapin natin na walang may gustong mangyari nito pero [Let’s accept that no one really wanted this to happen but] without prejudice to the final outcome of the investigation to be conducted by the board of inquiry,” he added.

Asked if the family of the slain policemen can still expect justice, Roque said: Habang may imbestigasyon, habang hindi natatapos ang imbestigasyon syempre titingnan natin kung ano pa puwede magawa [While there’s an investigation, while it has not been completed, of course we will see what we can do].”

“Pagdating naman sa katarungan, sabi nga ng Presidente ang importante maiwasan ang muling pangyayari na gaya nito na taong-gobyerno ang nagpuputukan [When it comes to justice, the President said it was important to prevent a repeat of the incident where government troops are firing at each other].”

The police recently formed a special board of inquiry to probe the clash between policemen and soldiers in Samar last week that left six cops dead and several others injured. The soldiers reportedly mistook a group of policemen as armed communist rebels.

The President recently took the blame for the misencounter between the police and military as commander-in-chief. Duterte earlier said the incident was not intentional, citing Murphy’s Law that states when things could go wrong, it would go wrong.

The families of the slain police officers however still expressed hope that justice would be served on those responsible for the tragic event.

Roque maintained he believes the soldiers would not deliberately target and kill the policemen.

“Napakalungkot at tingin ko bagamat wala pang resulta ang investigation, yung criminal intent wala naman siguro [It is very unfortunate and I think although there are no investigation results yet, there seems to be no criminal intent],” he said.

“Siguro hindi naman ta-targetin ng ating kasundaluhan ang kapatid nilang nakaunipormeng kapulisan pero tingnan natin kung may kapabayaan [I don’t think the soldiers will deliberately target their brothers in the police force but let’s still investigate if there was any neglect],” he added.

Roque stressed that there was a need for closer coordination between the police and military in conducting combat operations to avoid another deadly misencounter.

“Ang solusyon talaga dyan ay mas mabuting koordinasyon lalo na kapag mayroon combat operations. Pero sa tingin ko ngayon, hintayin din natin kung ano ang sasabihin ng BOI [The solution is closer coordination especially if there are combat operations. But I think for now, let’s wait for what the BOI will say],” he added.