MANILA — A Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors has found probable cause to indict 9 policemen for murder and planting of evidence over the killing of 4 soldiers in Jolo in June last year.
In a briefer sent to the media Monday by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento, the DOJ said there was probable cause to charge PSMS. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, PMSg. Hanie Baddiri, PSSg. Iskandar Susulan, PSSg. Ernisar Sappal, PCpl. Sulki Andaki, Pat. Moh Nur Pasani, PSSg. Admudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Alkajal Mandangan, and Pat. Rajiv Putalan with 4 counts of murder over the killing of 4 members of the Philippine Army.
Maj. Marvin Indammog, Cpt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco and Corporal Abdal Asula were on the trail of 2 alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group when the 9 policemen shot their vehicle just 50 meters away from the Jolo police station.
The PNP had tried to describe the incident as a misencounter but the Armed Forces of the Philippines denounced it as murder.
The National Bureau of Investigation found the 4 soldiers were shot in the back and the police planted a firearm beside the body of Indammog.
“The killing was attended/qualified by treachery. The victims were unarmed, unsuspecting and were not in a position to defend themselves when they were shot,” the DOJ media briefer said.
“The autopsy and post-mortem examination results reveal that the victims succumbed to the multiple gunshot wounds inflicted at the back of their bodies,” it added, saying that the cartridges and bullets recovered from the crime scene matched those of the firearms of the Jolo policemen and “none of which were compatible with the firearms of the victims.”
The 9 policemen will also face a charge for planting of evidence under the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act (sec. 38, RA 10591) after prosecutors found they “purposely placed and planted” a firearm “near the left hand of Maj. Indammog, who was right handed.”
“The qualitative test to determine the presence of gun powder nitrates conducted (after the shooting incident) on the hands of Maj. Indammog yielded negative results. The foregoing indicates that respondents planted the firearms to cover up for the intentional killing of the victims,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors however dismissed the neglect of duty complaint on the ground of command responsibility against 3 high ranking police officers who were the superiors of the 9 policemen.
The panel said that under EO 226, Col. Michael Bayawan, Jr., Major Walter Annayo and Capt. Ariel Corcino should be held "administratively accountable,” which is outside the jurisdiction of the DOJ prosecutors.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered Malcoltento to immediately file the criminal charges in court and secure the warrants of arrest against the 9 policemen “ASAP.”
"I understand that the accused police officers have been dismissed from the service, so the court should immediately obtain jurisdiction over their person, lest they be able to flee," Guevarra said.
The charges against the 9 policemen are non-bailable, which means they cannot avail themselves of bail as a matter of right but need to go through court hearings to show the evidence against them is not strong and convince the judge to allow them to post bail.
Malcontento said the charges will be filed in a court in Jolo as soon as possible.
“Of course, we have to consider the travels,” he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES