PH Army says coordination with Jolo cops 'more than enough'
MANILA - Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said Wednesday there was a "lack of coordination" between police and military in Jolo that resulted in the death of 4 soldiers in the hands of their comrades.
Dela Rosa, a former police chief, said the military's coordination with the police should have been "real-time and specific."
"Ang akin lang ay kulang. Hindi specific at hindi real-time. Dapat walang mangyaring sitahan sana kung tumawag kayo sa police station beforehand na mayroon kaming nilalakad ngayon," he said.
(For me it was lacking. It was not specific and real-time. The vehicle would not have been flagged down if you called the police station beforehand.)
"For me nakikita ko na there was lacking sa coordination. Kailangan pa natin i-improve ang coordination lalong-lalo na sa ground level."
(For me, there was a lack of coordination. We need to improve coordination especially on the ground level.)
Dela Rosa added that it was the job of the police and military's ground commanders to build trust among their personnel.
"Lesson learned natin 'yun, dapat magkaroon ng real-time coordination. Alam ko maraming factors, on papers 'yung ating coordination mechanism ay napakaganda," he said.
(That's a leson learned for us, to have real-time coordination. I know there are a lot of factors, our coordination mechanism is good on paper.)
"Pero on the ground sometimes, trabaho ng ground commander paano papalapitin ng intel operatives, para walang distrust between and among them."
(But on the ground, it is the ground commander's job to make intel operatives' relations closer so there's no distrust between and among them.)
The coordination between authorities was "more than enough" as the Metro Jolo Inter-Agency Task Force held a meeting 4 days prior to the incident, according to Col. Antonio Bautista, the Army's unit commander on the ground.
"For more than a year and a half the Metro Jolo commander have been working closely with the PNP so every time we have operations with the previous PD (provincial director) and the current MPS (municipal police station) of Jolo, we've been coordinating every time we have operations," he said.
"That meeting held last 25 June was part of coordination done every time we do operations in the area."
The SUV that the soldiers used had been surveying the area for "more than 3 months" and even parked in front of the Jolo Municipal Police Station a day before the incident, Bautista said.
"That van is not new in that place... That Montero parked in front of the police station of Jolo on Sunday, 28, because we believe June 28 was the D-date for bombing that coincide with the activity of the first Filipino bomber of which we suspect the wife of Norman (terror suspect) will conduct the said bombing," he said.
Former Jolo Police chief Walter Annayo and Senior Master Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, team leader of the 9 police officers tagged in the soldiers' shooting, said they did not recognize the SUV as a military vehicle.
The National Bureau of Investigation last month filed murder and planting of evidence charges against the 9 police officers.
The Philippine Army earlier described the incident as "murder" as it said the soldiers identified themselves at a police checkpoint and complied with the cops' request to stop by the police station.
Police said the soldiers allegedly pointed their guns at them which prompted the shooting. The NBI, however, found in its investigation that all shells were from the policemen's firearms.