President Duterte on Tuesday assured that the truth behind the killing of four soldiers in Jolo, Sulu by policemen will come out and expressed hope that the “isolated incident” won’t spark any animosity between the military and the police.
The President visited the troops stationed at a military camp in Jolo on Monday and affirmed his resolve to ferret out the truth and serve justice.
An investigation into the June 29 shooting incident is being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“I already tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to do justice by conducting an immediate and impartial investigation to ferret out the truth. It is my hope that this isolated incident will not spark any animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP (Philippine National Police),” Duterte said before an assembly of soldiers at the Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo.
“As your Commander-in-Chief and as President of the Republic of the Philippines, I assure you that I will see to it that the truth will come out be it in favor of the police or the military. Ang hinihingi ko lang ang totoong nangyari (All I ask for is what really happened) so you can rest assured that justice will be done to the family at sa mga tao dito sa — ang mga tropa dito sa Jolo ( to the people, to the troops in Jolo),” he said.
Duterte said he grieves for the fallen soldiers as he tried to console the government troops in mourning. He said there was either a misunderstanding or anger that resulted in the shooting incident.
“As your Commander-in-Chief, I grieve for our fallen men. I convey my deepest condolences to you for the death of your comrades,” he said in his remarks aired on state television Tuesday morning.
“We know that there is a certain hatred or anger there, or if there is none, then a misunderstanding that led to the shooting,” he said.
Four Army soldiers were shot dead by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last month. The cops involved in the shooting have been placed under restrictive custody to face the NBI inquiry.
The President has expressed gratitude to the brave soldiers for their “undying service, especially during these trying times.”
He said lawless elements were taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to disrupt public order.
“Recently, it has been a difficult time for our men and women in uniform due to the escalating tensions between the military and the terrorist groups. On top of this, we have the deaths of your fellow soldiers where certain members of the Philippine National Police were involved,” he said.
He also commended the military for accomplishing “so much” in fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group in recent years. “This led to significant strides towards crushing them for good,” he said.
As the military fights to protect the nation, Duterte promised to take care of the needs of the soldiers and their families. “The government will continue to implement policies and programs that will secure your future,” he said.
During his visit to the Jolo camp, the President also witnessed the conferment of the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan on two soldiers who were wounded during a July 6 encounter with the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Barangay Bakung, Patikul, Sulu.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana and Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan conferred the award on S/Sgt. Ramonito Q. Diapolet and Cpl. Maynard D. Cabote during the ceremony where social distancing was observed as a precaution against the coronavirus.