MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to fly to Zamboanga City on Friday afternoon to meet with policemen and soldiers following the recent shooting incident between personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Jolo, Sulu.
During the Laging Handa program aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s visit to Zamboanga City is meant to boost the morale of the police and the military.
The President recently directed the National Bureau of Investigation to speed up the investigation into the alleged “misencounter” between members of the PNP and AFP in Jolo that led to the death of four military personnel.
Killed were Maj. Marvin Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime Velasco, 38; and Col. Abdal Asula, 33.
The four slain troops were tailing four terrorist suicide bombers when the shooting happened reports said.
Roque said Duterte wants to personally tell the police and the military that he would make sure that the recent incident would be the “last” under his watch.
He said Duterte would hold separate meetings with soldiers and the nine relieved police officers involved in the shooting incident and he would ensure that justice would be served for the four slain soldiers.
This is the first time Duterte would meet with government troops since the country was hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Roque said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) initially thumbed down Duterte’s plan to hold meetings with the military amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Duterte, however, prevailed and decided to “risk his life” just to check the condition of soldiers and policemen, he said.
Next public address in Davao
Duterte isolated himself in Manila for two months after he imposed an enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon to contain the further spread of Covid-19.
He was able to return to his hometown, Davao City, in May when he relaxed the quarantine restrictions in the country.
Security, intel ops in Sulu still in ‘full swing’: AFP
Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Adgard Arevalo said the Security and intelligence operations in Sulu will remain in full swing.
“The security and intelligence operations in Sulu continue in full swing up to this very moment,” he said in a message to reporters when asked on whether the incident has created an impact on its security operations and the ongoing hunt for reported terrorist bombers in the area.
He added that there is no let-up in their operations as the guidance of AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Filemon Santos to all military personnel is “eyes on the ball” or keeping focus on their tasks.
“The disruption of the operation due to that unfortunate incident was a temporary setback. The entire AFP machinery and infrastructure are still in place and on track,” he added.
DILG says Sulu incident ‘isolated case’
The shooting incident in Jolo, Sulu that led to the death of four Army intelligence officers involving policemen was an “isolated case” the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday.
DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said such an incident is not considered as a norm between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He said the coordination between the two agencies is important particularly amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, as the two are members of the Joint Task Force Covid Shield.
Malaya also condoled with the bereaved families of the four victims in an alleged “shooting incident,” as claimed by the PNP.
Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region regional director, Brig. Gen. Manuel Abu has already ordered the relief of Jolo police chief, Lt. Col. Walter Annayo.
He added that the relieved policemen — S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Alkajal Mandangan, Pat. Rajiv Putalan, Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, M/Sgt. Hanie U Baddiri, S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan, S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal, Cpl. Sulki Andaki, and Pat. Mohammad Nur Pasani — were disarmed and placed under the custody of the provincial headquarters. (PNA)