MANILA - The 4 soldiers killed in the hands of policemen last June were pursuing the 2 female suicide bombers that carried out the twin bombings in Jolo, the chief of the Philippine Army said Tuesday.
The explosions left at least 14 dead and wounded 75 others in the usually crowded area of Plaza Rizal in Jolo on Monday noon, authorities said.
"Ito po yung target nila late Maj. (Marvin) Indammog at kaniyang intelligence team subalit humantong sa hindi magandang (pangyayari), kung maalala mo binaril po sila ng mga kapulisan ng Jolo, Sulu," Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana told radio DWIZ.
(They were the targets of the late Maj. Indammog and his intelligence team but it led to this unfortunate incident. If you can recall, they were shot dead by the Jolo Police.)
"Dahil sa nangyari medyo nakawala po sila sa ating monitoring. Sayang nga ang pagkakataon at ito na, nagresulta na sa hindi maganda. Mayroong mga kasamahan pa nating nasawi at yung mga inosenteng civilian nadamay pa."
(Due to this incident, they somehow got out of our monitoring. The opportunity was wasted and it resulted into this. Civilians and many of our comrades died.)
The Philippine Army earlier described the shooting 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.
The policemen involved, in a Senate inquiry, said they asked the soldiers to stop by the Jolo Police Station to verify the identification of the group who introduced themselves as "tropa" (members of the troop).
They claimed the soldiers pointed their guns at them which prompted the shooting. The National Bureau of Investigation, however, found in its investigation that all bullet shells were from the policemen's firearms.
The NBI last month filed murder and planting of evidence charges against the 9 police officers.