PNP now says Sulu incident not a misencounter, calls it a shooting

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) — The Philippine National Police is now ruling out the “misencounter” angle in the fatal shooting of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu.

Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said Wednesday that based on their analysis of reports on the ground, the soldiers did not fire a single shot at the police. The PNP is now calling it a shooting incident, involving nine policemen.

Nakita natin na wala namang paggamit o pagpapaputok ng baril mula sa mga namatay na sundalo. Nakalagay lang doon ay umamba umano, umamba,” Banac told reporters.

[Translation: We saw that there was no use or firing of guns from the soldiers who died. The reports only said they threatened to do so.]

Banac added that the local police may have failed to preserve the crime scene, and that the Jolo Municipal Police Station would be held liable if this is proven.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to speed up its investigation. He also sought a meeting with the nine cops tagged in the incident, said his spokesman, Harry Roque.

The PNP-Internal Affairs Service is conducting its own probe with the National Police Commission. This would ensure an impartial investigation and prevent any biases, PNP-IAS chief Alfegar Triambulo said.

READ: Cops who killed soldiers in Sulu ‘misencounter’ disarmed, under restrictive custody — PNP

Four Army officers were killed in a police operation in Jolo, Sulu on Monday. They are Maj. Marvin Indammog, Cpt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco, and Cpl. Abdal Asula -- all from the Army’s 9th Intelligence Service Unit of the 11th Infantry Division.

Initial reports from the Sulu Provincial Police Office said the cops involved claimed self-defense, after the soldiers supposedly lifted and pointed their firearms first at the police. But Army Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said it was a rubout and his men were "murdered" by the police personnel.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gapay said the incident will not affect the “harmonious working relationship” between the police and military, and vowed to revisit protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future.

CNN Philippines' David Santos and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.