Administration and opposition congressmen on Tuesday slammed claims by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the killing of four soldiers by PNP personnel in Jolo, Sulu was a case of “misencounter.”
Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate warned that the incident could be a “portent of things to come when ‘nanlaban’ is enabled and becomes the poor excuse for impunity under the present administration.”
PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said PNP’s quick claim of a “misencounter” to describe the Jolo killings “is not only premature but also reeks of a whitewash.”
Magdalo Partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III chided the police for being too “fast in pulling the trigger but lacking in the exercise of careful judgment.”
Killed in the alleged encounter were Army intelligence officers Maj. Marvin Indamog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt Eric Velasco, and Cpl Abdal Asula. Indamog and Managuelod are both graduates of the Philippine Military Academy.
Reports claimed the bodies of the victims were riddled with bullets.
Not one of the dozen PNP personnel belonging to the Jolo police station was injured during the alleged gunfight on Monday.
Contradicting accounts from witnesses and the police about what happened has prompted the PNP and AFP to ask the National Bureau of Investigation to lead the probe.
Cabochan said the killing of the Philippine Army intelligence officers is not only deplorable but worrisome, noting that “if this can happen to soldiers, what more to ordinary civilians.”
“The usage of the term misencounter looks like an early indication of a whitewash. How can the PNP already claim this was a misencounter when they have not even conducted a thorough investigation on this case? The PNP should know better and choose words carefully because this is like adding insult to injury to the family and the brothers-in-arms of the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Nograles said.
“Conceding that this is an innocent misencounter is trying to whitewash a possible murder situation,” he added.
Zarate noted that the incident could be compared to the killing by the police of retired Cpl. Winston Ragos in Quezon City during an altercation for his supposed violation of community quarantine rules.