Pangilinan seeks Senate probe on fatal shooting of 4 soldiers in Jolo
Robie de Guzman • July 2, 2020 • 727
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is calling for an inquiry into the killing of four soldiers by local policemen in Jolo, Sulu.
“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Monday afternoon, June 29, four members of the Philippine Army were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.
The Army said the four soldiers were on an official mission and were tracking suspected suicide bombers when they were accosted by the local police.
The soldiers, who had been wearing plain clothes, were said to have introduced themselves to the policemen. The cops allegedly told them to go with them to a nearby police station for identity verification.
Initial police report said that as their team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ vehicle allegedly sped off, prompting a car chase.
Police said they only defended themselves when the soldiers opened fire.
The Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers based on eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the soldiers’ vehicle.
Pangilinan said the police and military have different versions of what happened, and an “independent and impartial” Senate probe will “help bring out the truth.”
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan called on military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”
“We should be going after the common enemy — terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID — not against each other,” Pangilinan said.
The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.
The nine policemen involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have also been ordered relieved from their posts pending investigation.
MANILA, Philippines — All flags in military camps across the country will be flown at half-mast in honor of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
In a video message on Thursday, AFP Spokesperson Marine Major General Edgard Arevalo said the Philippine military is one with the nation in grieving the death of Aquino.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines joins the Filipino nation as it grieves for the death of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III,” Arevalo said.
“As your soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, reservists and civilian human resource unite in prayer with our kababayans, all the national flags in military camps across the country will be flown at half-mast to show our gesture of mourning for the death of a former chief executive and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
The former chief executive passed away on Thursday morning after he succumbed to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61 years old.
The Department of National Defense earlier remembered Aquino as a leader who recognized the importance of upgrading the Philippine military’s capability.
It was during Aquino’s time when the AFP started its modernization program.
“President Aquino advocated the strengthening of our defense and security capabilities to support national development,” the DND said.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Aquino clan during this difficult time,” it added.
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday (June 24) signed the dismissal order of PMSgt. Hensie Zinampan, the policeman in the viral video of the killing of a 52-year old woman in Quezon City on May 31.
“Today, I signed the dismissal order of Police Master Sergeant Hensie Zinampan who was found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming of a Police Officer in connection with the killing of 52-year old Lilybeth Valdez on May 31, 2021,” said Eleazar in a PNP statement.
Zinampan is currently detained and is facing murder charges.
With the dismissal, the PNP said Zinampan will no longer receive any benefits from the agency. The PNP also said that his dismissal is proof that the agency does not condone abuse and wrongdoings among the police ranks.
“The PNP made sure that the entire summary dismissal proceedings followed the existing procedures and policies in order to prevent technicalities that may only be taken advantage of by PMS Zinampan to be reinstated in the police organization,” according to the statement.
Eleazar said that Zinampan’s dismissal should serve as a warning to all PNP personnel and that each police officer should live up to the three important and meaningful words in the PNP Seal—Service, Honor, and Justice. –AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said it has received Information Technology (IT) and multimedia equipment worth P2.7 million from the Australian government.
AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana received the donation in a ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, June 23.
“With these newly donated IT and multimedia equipment, the AFP will be able to amplify its capability of preventing and countering violent extremism, here in our country,” General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.
Among the donated equipment were high-tech computers, tablets, storage devices, smart TVs, cameras, and audio recording components.
The donation was under the mutually agreed Australia-Philippines Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.
Australian Defence Attaché Colonel Paul Joseph Barta said these equipment will help the AFP in its efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in the Philippines.
“The equipment will assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ office for the prevention and countering of violent extremism research to achieve its mission – by documenting and understanding the drivers of radicalization, effective strategies for prevention of violent extremism can be found,” Barta said.
Sobejana expressed gratitude to the Australian government and the Australian Defence Force for the donation.
“Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force for their continued support to the AFP in the ongoing fight against terrorism. It is through these initiatives that our members become more empowered to fulfil their mandate to secure the state and protect the Filipino people,” he said.
With the new equipment, the AFP said access and exchange of information among military allies shall be made more available and secured.
It also assured it continues to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities within the cyberspace where access to available information is critical.
“We have already made great strides in enhancing our capabilities in the cyberspace environment. However, we do acknowledge that much is still needed,” Sobejana said.
“After the grueling Marawi siege in 2017 against the ISIS-Maute Group, and the lessons that we have to learn the hard way, the AFP is more than determined to prevent any incidents of the same nature from ever happening in the future,” he added.
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