Press Release
August 19, 2020

August 19,2020; 9:00AM
Session Hall



Magandang umaga sa ating lahat.

It is unfortunate that we are having this hearing today to discuss a matter concerning not just the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police but also the State's ability to maintain peace and order as a whole.

On June 29, 2020, two (2) commissioned officers and two (2) enlisted personnel of the AFP were killed in Jolo, Sulu, allegedly by some members of the PNP and PDEU Sulu... they are all under the PNP.

Records show that the four AFP personnel identified as Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula who were assigned to the Philippine Army's Intelligence Regimen of the 9th ISU or Intelligence Service Unit were killed while in their mission. They were allegedly shot by six (6) members of the Jolo Municipal Police Station and three (3) personnel of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit of Sulu PPO. Conflicting claims have been presented by the different parties about how the tragic incident happened. But I am happy that the PNP and the AFP agreed to let the NBI conduct an independent probe in the incident. I would like to congratulate Gen. Felimon Santos, the former Chief of Staff (CS), AFP and Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the former Commanding General, Philippine Army and now the current Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Gen, Archie Gamboa, the Chief PNP for effectively handling the situation from going out of control. I would also like to recognize the local government of Jolo, under the leadership of Mayor Kerkhar Tan for their cooperation in the investigation.

Last July 21, 2020, as a result of the joint investigation conducted by the NBI Western Mindanao Regional Office and Death Investigation Division, the Bureau already submitted to the DOJ its final report. The report contains the recommendation for prosecution of four (4) counts of murder and one (1) count of planting of evidence against the nine (9) policemen from Jolo MPS and Sulu PDEU who were involved in the incident. It also recommends the filing of an administrative case of Neglect of Duty under the Doctrine of Command Responsibility against the Chief of Police, PDEU Chief, and Police Provincial Director.

I am leading this Committee hearing today not as a former Chief of the Philippine National Police or an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy, but as a Senator of the Republic.

Alam kong hindi maiibsan ng pagdinig na ito ang sakit na nararamdaman ng mga kaanak ng mga pumanaw nating sundalo. Ngunit sana ang pagdinig na ito ay makapagbigay ng pag-asa na makakamit nila ang hustisya ng pagkawala ng mga mahal nila sa buhay.

We are here today to hear all sides of the story, to help serve justice to the aggrieved parties, to see the loopholes in policies and laws, and to prevent the repeat of such incidents in the future. This inquiry will focus mainly on the role of Congress, by virtue of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution regarding inquiries in aid of legislation. This Committee is interested to unravel the truth in the events in Jolo last June 29, 2020, in order to review and introduce possible amendments to existing laws and to craft much needed legislations concerning the subject matter.

I would just like to remind our invited resource persons to respond and answer the questions truthfully. The Committee is well-aware of the case filed in the DOJ and the sub judice rule. However, we are also cognizant of the string of cases already decided by the Supreme Court, specifically in the case of Standard Chartered Bank v. Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies (G.R. No. 16713, December 27, 2007) that "the mere filing of a criminal or an administrative complaint before a court or quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the conduct of legislative investigations." It is likewise enunciated by the Court that "exercise of sovereign legislative authority, of which the power of legislative inquiry is an essential component, cannot be subordinate to a criminal or administrative investigation." It also elucidate in Arnault v. Nazareno (G.R. No. L-3820, July 18, 1950) wherein the High Court articulated that "The power of inquiry--with process to enforce it--is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information regarding the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information." Furthermore, in a more recent case of Romero II v. Estrada (G.R. No. 174105, April 2, 2009) wherein the Supreme Court averred that when the Senate Committee "issued invitations and subpoenas to petitioners to appear before it in connection with its investigation, it did so pursuant to its authority to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation." And so, the invited resource persons have the "duty to cooperate, to respond to subpoena, to respect the dignity of the Congress and its Committees, and to testify fully in the matters under investigation."

Kaya ngayon inaasahan ko ang kooperasyon ng lahat ng ating mga panauhin, para matulungan ang komiteng ito.

As we proceed with this investigation, we have three main issues today. The first is what triggered the shooting. Based on eye witness accounts vis-a-vis the police operational procedures the shooting was allegedly not justified. The second is the issue on lateral coordination of operations between the AFP and the PNP in fulfilling their respective mandate. How can we improve on the existing operational procedure of the AFP and the PNP which is vital in the interoperability of our forces? What are the legislations needed in order to prevent the repeat of such incident? And third is the issue on the protecting and preserving the scene of the crime and the pieces of evidence related thereto. Is there a need to introduce amendments to our existing laws on the obstruction of justice under PD 1829? As recommended in your BOI report, which was jointly conducted by both the AFP and the PNP, you need legislative enactment by Congress providing the manner in the treatment and management of crime scene and penalty in violation thereof. This Committee will try to give answers to these questions. Maraming Salamat po.

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