The decision of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file criminal charges against the nine Jolo policemen tagged in the death of four military intelligence officers last month is in the best interest of justice, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they welcome the filing of the case as it would serve as an avenue for the beleaguered Jolo policemen to air their side of their story in the proper forum which is the court.
“It is in the best interest of justice to prosecute those who may be criminally liable. Under the criminal justice system and in accordance to penal laws, the respondents will be given the opportunity to answer the charges against them before the proper forum and in accordance with due process,” said Banac.
On Tuesday, the NBI filed a murder case against the nine Jolo policemen identified as Police Senior Master Sergeant Abdelzhimar Padjiri; Police MSgt. Hanie Baddiri; Police Staff Sgts. Iskandar Susulan, Almudzrin Hadjaruddin and Ernisar Sappal; Police Corporal Sulki Andaki; Patrolmen Moh. Nur Pasani; Alkajal Mandangan, and Rajiv Putalan.
The case was in connection with the death of Maj. Marvin Indammog, commanding officer of the 9th Intelligence Security Unit; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, field service intelligence commander; Sgt. Eric Velasco and Corporal Abdal Asula.
Both Indammog and Managuelod were products of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
The nine policemen invoked their right to remain silent when they were summoned by the NBI last week. But PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said that it does not mean that the nine policemen were not cooperating with the NBI which was directed by President Duterte.
“Remember when you are doing your government duties, yes you have some duties to do but if it already involves your personal right then you can always invoke this but please do not mistook it as they are not following the order (of Duterte to cooperate) because they also have to protect their own personal rights,” said Gamboa.
On June 29, the policemen flagged down the vehicle of the four military intelligence officers in a checkpoint in Jolo.
The four soldiers identified themselves as members of the military but a top police official said that they did not present identification cards, the reason why they were asked to go to the Jolo Police Station for verification.