President Rodrigo Duterte has assured the families of the four soldiers slain in Jolo that truth and justice will be done, even as he thanked the military for protecting the country against insurgency and terrorism.
“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. I am asking for the truth,” Duterte said in a speech before soldiers in Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo.
He said the killing of the soldiers by policemen, which he described as an isolated incident, should not drive a wedge between the military and the police.
“There are things that happen that we do not want to happen. We do not have answers to that. We know there is hatred and anger there, if not misunderstanding, that led to the shooting,” Duterte said.
He made his statement even as Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation was expected to file a criminal a complaint before his department against the police officers involved in the shooting incident.
“Unless the NBI intends to submit a supplemental report, I expect that a criminal complaint will be filed very son with [us],” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Duterte said the deaths of the four soldiers on June 29 was something that nobody wanted to happen.
He was referring to the deaths of Major Marvin Indammog, Captain Irwin Managuelod, Sergeant Jaime Velasco and Corporal Abdal Asula who were gunned down in Sitio Marina in Barangay Walled in Jolo.
“It is my hope that this isolated incident would not spark animosity between the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police,” Duterte said.
He thanked the soldiers for their continued service despite losing their comrades.
“To our brave soldiers who are with us today, I personally came here to thank you on behalf of the Filipino people for your undying service, especially during these trying times,” Duterte said.
“As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, lawless elements still take advantage of and ravage our land, disrupting public order. 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.”