Sulu cops may be held liable if there are irregularities in securing evidence—Banac

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Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay calls for the sacking of Sulu provincial police commanders over the deaths of four Army intelligence officers by policemen in the province’s capital, Jolo. PHILIPPINE ARMY

MANILA, Philippines — The police investigators in Sulu may be held liable if anomalies are found in securing evidence at the crime scene where four soldiers were fatally shot, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said Wednesday.

“Presumably, all evidence that was found and will be recovered will be properly turned over to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” Banac said on ANC, when asked about the preservation of evidence following the death of the four Philippine Army soldiers, including two officers, some 50 meters from a Jolo police station.

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“If ever the crime scene was not properly taken care of, again, this will be subject to another investigation on handling the crime scene of evidence,”  Banac said.

“We are very strict on this. If this was not done then again our cops again may be liable for that,” he said.

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Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army has said that its two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against Abu Sayyaf extremists, including two suspected suicide bombers, when they were flagged down and later fatally shot by police without provocation even after the soldiers identified themselves.

The Philippine Army’s Western Mindanao Command had asked the NBI to conduct an impartial probe into the shooting incident.

Banac said the NBI would investigate if the police officers followed procedures in securing the crime scene.

“When there is a crime scene, there is an incident, the procedure is to secure the crime scene and wait for reinforcement or the SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives) to come in,” Banac said. “But allegedly this thing did not happen. This is one thing we would like to know also.”

He said the PNP wants “to make the investigation impartial and we don’t want undue influence to it and that is why we are taking our hands off the investigation and  allowing the NBI to proceed in the investigation.” With a report from Associated Press

Cops kill 4 military agents; Army chief cries rubout

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