MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it would ask a Sulu court for a travel ban against the nine dismissed police officers involved in the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence officers in the province in June last year.
“In the meantime, I have instructed the prosecutors to file an urgent motion in court for the issuance of a hold departure order against all the accused. The DOJ prosecutors filed the criminal information against the nine police officers last Jan. 4. The court was supposed to issue the warrants of arrest thereafter, but apparently failed to do so because of the current lockdown in Sulu,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told newsmen.
Guevarra added that the nine police officers were released from the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) despite their request for the police force “to hold them awhile until the arrest warrants were issued.”
“We hope that the nine accused will voluntarily turn themselves in when such warrants are eventually released by the court. Otherwise, law enforcement agents will look for them and take them into custody,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Honey Delgado from the Office of Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said they were informed of the current situation in Sulu while waiting for the court’s issuance of a warrant of arrest against the suspects.
“The court, in itself, will determine if there is probable cause to issue warrants of arrest. The prosecutor need not apply for such issuance. If Sulu is still on lockdown, the courts might not be operating in its full capacity — may or may not slow down the process,” Delgado said.
Last Dec. 31, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan announced a lockdown in the province from Jan. 4 to 17 to prevent the entry of a new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant from the United Kingdom, which has already entered neighboring Malaysia.
Killed during the June 29, 2020 shooting were Maj. Marvin Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime Velasco, 38; and Cpl. Abdal Asula, 33.
The four soldiers were tailing four terrorist suicide bombers when the shooting happened.
The nine dismissed policemen are S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Alkajal Mandangan, Pat. Rajiv Putalan, Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, M/Sgt. Hanie U Baddiri, S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan, S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal, Cpl. Sulki Andaki, and Pat. Mohammad Nur Pasani. (PNA)