Brother of SAF cop in viral video speaks up

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Feb 12 2015 11:23 AM | Updated as of Feb 12 2015 09:06 PM

PO1 Joseph Sagonoy

MANILA – The brother of the Special Action Force (SAF) commando who was seen being brutally killed in a viral video has spoken up.

Julius Sagonoy, brother of 26-year-old PO1 Joseph Sagonoy, confirmed that it was his brother who was seen in the video being shot at close range by a still unidentified gunman.

"Kumpirmado ko po talaga na siya po 'yung nasa video, 'yung tama po sa panga niya, saka 'yung mukha talaga niya. Siya talaga 'yun, 'di po ko pwedeng magkamali kasi kapatid ko po 'yun," Julius told dzMM.

Sagonoy expressed dismay with the uploading of the video, as his family is still grieving over the death of his brother.

''Tinorture po 'yung kapatid ko. Ginawa pong aso. Ginawang hayop ang pagpatay sa kanya,'' he said.

"Halos araw-araw po 'yung nanay namin umiiyak, 'di po niya matanggap talaga na wala na ang kapatid namin. Sobra pong galit ang kinikimkim niya ngayon.

"Bakit niyo pa in-upload 'yung ginawa niyo? Sana pagdusahan niyo 'yan habambuhay."

Overwhelmed by the turn of events, Julius said he wants the government to wage an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other groups who engaged in a gun battle last January 25 his brother and fellow SAF troopers, who were out to arrest Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino cohort Abdul Basit Usman.

He also appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to aid in the achievement of justice for the slain 44 SAF troopers.

"Bilis-bilisan lang po 'yung kaso sa 44 SAF para mabigyan ng hustisya,'' Julius said.

Julius also noted that his brother is the breadwinner of the family.

MILF: Shooter in video not ours

The MILF said the video is not yet conclusive. This, as the policemen also engaged in a gun battle Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a supposed splinter group of the MILF which is completely opposed to the peace talks.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said the video only shows the arm but not the face of the shooter.

In the video, a SAF trooper is shot twice by an unknown assailant at a cornfield in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano.

"Dapat ang sagot ay dapat supported by hard facts. Hindi ako naniniwala na yan ay pwedeng gawin ng miembro ng MILF o legitimate na elemento ng Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters dahil mahigpit ang leadership ng MILF and the general staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces na sundin ang lahat ng paraan, rules of engagement in battle," he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.

He said one prohibition in the rules of engagement is the mutilation of bodies or to keep shooting a person who is already dead.

On Wednesday, Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina condemned the "overkill" of his men, saying some of the warriors were shot in the head - indicating that they were executed.

For his part, Jaafar condemned the killing of the SAF trooper, adding that a thorough investigation must be done to identify the killer.

He said members of the Bangsamoro are hurt by the pronouncements of some lawmakers who are condemning Muslims for the carnage in Mamasapano.

"Feeling ng Bangsamoro people ngayon ay naghihinakit sila sapagkat duon sa mga pronouncements ng mga lawmakers natin, mga congressmen at senators, para bang ang intindi ng mga Bangsamoro people all over the Philippines pati sa Maynila para silang hindi citizens of the republic. Kahit na pinapatay e kino-condemn pa rin sila," he said.

He said one sentiment that has arisen among Muslims is that "there is a different standard of justice for Christians and Muslims."

"Ang tingin po sa kanila, sa mga lawmakers, ayon sa interpretasyon:
ang mga Muslim ay masama, walang karapatan, mga kriminal. Hindi naman. May mga karapatan sila as citizens of the republic. Ayan ang sinasabi namin na hindi maganda," he said.

Jaafar said the public should be reminded of the very real cost of the decades-long war in Mindanao. Armed Forces chief of staff Gregorio Catapang earlier said the war in Mindanao has led to the deaths of 491 police and military, 841 civilian, and 1,267 MILF from 2001 to 2012.

The MILF leader also challenged the public to make a decision if the Mamasapano incident "really shows that the MILF is insincere."

"Ang tanong po namin: dahil ba sa isang insidente dito sa Mamasapano, e ang husga po ng mamamayan ay hindi sincere ang MILF? Hindi serious ang MILF? Sa loob ng 18 years, serious ang MILF sa negotiations. Tinupad ng MILF ang lahat ng kanyang obligations under the terms and conditions and provisions ng iba't ibang agreement na nilagdaan ng MILF with the government of the Philippines kabilang na ang mechanisms," he said.

Jaafar said government forces in coordination with the MILF were able to rescue kidnap victims in the past several years.

He also said the MILF even allowed the military to pass through two MILF camps after proper coordination was done.

The MILF official also challenged the nation's leaders to "be statesmen" in its investigation into the Mamasapano incident.

"Panawagan sa mga lawmakers natin at iba pang political leaders natin: Please rise above the level of a politician. Be statesmen. May problema tayo sa Mindanao. Ang problema ay political problem kaya may negotiations. Libo-libo na ang namamatay sa Muslims and non-Muslims...It is uncalled for na ang ibang leaders natin, political leaders, na nananawagan ng gyera."