MANILA – A Sulu court has ordered the arrest of the nine dismissed police officers indicted for the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence operatives in Jolo in June last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Friday.
“Warrants were issued yesterday (Thursday),” Prosecutor Honey Delgado of the Office of the Prosecutor General told reporters.
She added that the court is currently hearing the motion for the issuance of hold departure orders against the accused, which would prevent them from leaving the country once it is issued.
State prosecutors have earlier found probable cause to charge the nine dismissed police officers — Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri; M/Sgt. Hanie Baddiri; S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan; S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal; Cpl. Sulki Andaki; Pat. Moh Nur Pasani; S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin; Pat. Alkajal Mandangan; and Pat. Rajiv Putalan for four counts of murder and planting of evidence.
In a message to reporters, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said he is hoping that the accused would surrender immediately to authorities.
“Well, we presume that they are with their families (and that) they will make themselves available once the warrant of arrest is issued,” he said in Filipino.
Usana added that PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas has ordered the monitoring of the movement of these former police officers.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the military welcomes this development.
“Albeit issued belatedly, we are glad that the RTC (Regional Trial Court) Branch 3 of Jolo found probable cause to issue a warrant for the arrest of the nine suspects in the murder of four Army Intelligence personnel,” he said in a message to reporters.
The arrest and subsequent detention of the suspects will be without bail indicating that the court considers that the evidence of their guilt is strong, Arevalo added.
“We urge the respondent police personnel to surrender—else the AFP, the PNP, and other agencies of government will vigorously search, find, and deliver them to court without delay to face trial for multiple murder,” he added.
Meanwhile, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the court’s move “good news”.
“That’s good news. Now the PNP (Philippine National Police) has (a) legal basis to arrest them. They were reportedly released because their discharge became effective and there was no arrest warrant,” he said in a message to reporters.
The suspects were charged for the June 29, 2020 shooting incident that resulted in the death of Maj. Marvin A. Indammog, Capt. Irwin B. Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime M. Velasco, and Cpl. Abdal Asula.
The four soldiers were conducting intelligence and monitoring operations against two suspected suicide bombers when gunned down by the nine Jolo police officers. (with reports from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)