MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo visited the wake of three of the four soldiers who were killed by police in Jolo town, Sulu and condoled with their grieving families last Monday.
Robredo only got to visit the wakes of Philippine Army officers Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco as the other one, Cpl. Abdal Asula, was buried immediately in observance of the Islamic tradition.
"All of them are young men who died in the service of the country. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories from their respective families. They had such promising futures ahead of them," the Vice President said in a Facebook post late Wednesday.
"My heart goes out to their loved ones and the entire Philippine Army who are all grieving for their loss."
Robredo praised Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay's leadership and for his efforts "to ensure that justice will be served" for the deceased.
The soldiers, all intelligence operatives, were tracking 2 suspected suicide bombers from the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group when their van was flagged down by the police officers at a checkpoint in Jolo.
Gapay had said even though the soldiers cooperated and identified themselves as military personnel, they were still shot dead. He said the men were not armed.
Police had claimed the soldiers fled checkpoint and drew their guns at the officers, prompting them to fire. Gapay denied this, calling it “fabricated, parang sine (like in the movies).”
He also recalled former Army officer Winston Ragos' fatal shooting by a police officer in Quezon City last April.
“Hindi pa nga tapos 'yung kay Ragos. Wala pa ngang nangyayari doon. Tapos ito na naman?” Gapay said.
(The case involving [retired soldier Winston] Ragos is not yet finished. Nothing has happened there yet. And now this?)
The National Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the soldiers' demise, which Gapay has called "murder."--With reports from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN NEws