Sulu cops possibly tried to cover tracks after ‘misencounter’ with soldiers — Army spokesman

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army on Wednesday expressed belief that the police officers allegedly involved in the misencounter with soldiers in Jolo, Sulu Sunday were possibly trying to cover their tracks as they left the site of the incident to immediately file a police report.

“We believe so. Our commanding general already said that the report is inaccurate, misleading, and to a point, even called it fabricated because within an hour they were able to send it out and media already had the report,” Col. Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson, said when asked in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

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Zagala said that when the police report was given to the media, the military in the province was still trying to figure out the series of events that led to the death of the four soldiers under the hands of policemen on June 29.

He speculated that the police officers involved in the incident knew that those they killed were soldiers.

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“Can you imagine, the report that evening of the 29th in several news agencies (showed) that they killed suspected armed men, that’s what it says. If you claimed that you killed suspected armed men, why did you leave? Isn’t that already a score for you? They knew that they were military,” he said.

“We don’t believe in the version of this police officer that within one hour of the incident, they were able to file the report wherein they were not there. They left,” he added, saying that troops on standby at the area who proceeded at the site did not find police officers there.

Zagala said this led the Army leadership to believe the incident was not a misencounter as claimed by the Philippine National Police.

An “enraged” Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay earlier claimed there was no misencounter at all, but a “rubout,” saying that the soldiers were “murdered by the policemen.”

EDV

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