The National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday started its investigation of the nine policemen implicated in the June 29 shooting incident in Jolo that resulted in the death of four soldiers.
The policemen were brought from Camp Crame in Quezon City to the NBI headquarters in Manila, where they invoked their right to remain silent through their lawyers.
The soldiers were tracking down alleged suicide bombers when they were flagged down by the police. They identified themselves as members of the military, but they were told to go to a police station for further verification of their identities.
According to a police report, the policemen fired at the soldiers when the soldiers allegedly pointed their weapons at them, but Philippine Army Chief Gilbert Gapay said it was murder because the soldiers did not fire their weapons.
Lawyer Antonio Pagatpat, NBI deputy director for regional offices, said the NBI respected the policemen’s decision since it was their constitutional right to do so, but the NBI would have to make its recommendations without the policemen’s statement.
He says the officers will have to submit their affidavits to the NBI’s prosecutors if the NBI decides to file a complaint against them before the Justice department.
He says although the policemen chose not to give a statement, the Philippine National Police assisted the bureau in its investigation.
Moises Tamayo, the NBI’s regional director for the Western Mindanao Regional Office, said they already had the sworn affidavits of 11 witnesses, but they were waiting for one more witness who may have important information on the shooting incident to come forward.
NBI Director Eric Distor says they intend to submit their final report and recommendation to the Justice department this Friday, which will be based on the testimonial evidence and the result of the ballistic and forensic tests conducted during the probe.
“The NBI assures everyone that we will finish this thorough and impartial investigation,” Distor said.
The NBI earlier said its forensic examination showed one soldier suffered eight gunshot wounds, and that three gunshot wounds were found on two others.
The fourth soldier was buried immediately in accordance with Islamic tradition.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.