BIFF attack in Datu Piang, Maguindanao an isolated case — AFP

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2020   •   295

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the incident in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Thursday night (December 3) cannot be likened to the Marawi siege.

According to AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay, the attack that was carried out by members of the militant organization Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) was an isolated case.

“Even another Marawi is highly improbable at this point in time  because we have already learned the lessons of Marawi and we can consider what happened in Datu Piang as an isolated case, and it is really far from another Marawi incident,” Gapay said.

Still, the official calls on the public to remain vigilant and at the same time, cooperate with authorities in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is filing criminal charges against the BIFF members responsible for the attack that damaged public properties.

“The police will file criminal charges against those terrorists responsible for the attack and burning of our patrol car, as we assure the Datu Piang residents of intensified security measures to prevent similar threats posed by violent extremists  in the future,” assured PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas. MNP (with inputs from Lea Ylagan)

DOJ issues hold departure order vs nine cops in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a hold departure order against the nine policemen involved in the shooting of four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered prosecutors to file a motion in the court for a hold departure order against the policemen accused of killing the four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu last June 2020.

The order was issued after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released the said cops after being dismissed from service.

“The DOJ prosecutors filed the criminal information against the 9 police officers last January 4. The court was supposed to issue the warrants of arrest thereafter, but apparently failed to do so because of the current lockdown in Sulu,” he said.

Guevarra, meanwhile, hopes the accused would voluntarily turn themselves in once the warrants are issued.

“We hope that the 9 accused will voluntarily turn themselves in when such warrants are eventually released by the court. Otherwise, law enforcement agents will look for them and take them into custody,” Guevarra said. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP halts probe on PSG’s unauthorized COVID-19 vaccination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (January 5) withdrew the investigation on the Presidential Security Group’s (PSG) use of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines.

The said fact-finding investigation was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgardo Arevalo said they will no longer push through with the fact-finding investigation after President Rodrigo Duterte defended his closed-in security during his public address on Monday evening (January 4).

Duterte called on Congress not to ‘tinker’ with the PSG and not to force his soldiers to testify against their will.

“AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay has called-off the scheduled fact-finding investigation today on the vaccination of some PSG personnel. This comes in the light of the recent pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief and President Rodrigo Duterte,” the AFP said in a statement.

Several of the PSG personnel were vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine last September 2020. Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously confirmed the said vaccines used were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AAC

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