THE Department of Justice has found probable cause to charge nine Jolo policemen, who were involved in the June 2020 killing of four Army intelligence officers hunting members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, with four counts of murder and planting of evidence.
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said the panel of prosecutors found that the killing of Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco Jr., and Cpl. Abdal Asula “was attended/qualified by treachery” as they were “unarmed, unsuspecting and were not in a position to defend themselves when they were shot.”
The nine policemen are P/Senior Master Sergeant Abdelzhimar Padjiri; Master Sgt. Hanie Baddiri; Staff Sgts. Iskandar Susulan, Ernisar Sappal, and Almudzrin Hadjaruddin; Cpl. Sulki Andaki; and Patrolmen Moh Nur Pasani, Alkajal Mandangan and Rajiv Putalan.
The DOJ said autopsy and post-mortem examinations showed that the victims “succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds” inflicted at the back of their bodies.
Probable cause was also found against the said policemen for planting of evidence under Section 38 of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. The charge refers to the firearm “purposely placed and planted near the left hand” of Indammog who, the DOJ said, was a right-handed person.
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas earlier approved the dismissal from the service of the nine Jolo policemen.
In the same resolution though, the DOJ dismissed the neglect of duty complaint on the ground of command responsibility against three superior officers namely Sulu police provincial chief Col. Michael Bayawan Jr., Sulu drug enforcement unit chief Capt. Ariel Corcino, and Jolo municipal police station chief Maj. Walter Annayo.
In dismissing the case against the three, the DOJ said under Executive Order 226 issued on Feb.17, 1995, they should be held “administratively liable.”
“It follows therefore, that the investigation of the criminal liability of the three respondents does not belong to this Office,” the DOJ added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has ordered Malcontento to file the criminal information against the nine policemen in court and secure warrants of arrest as soon as possible.
“I understand that the accused police officers have been dismissed from the service, so the court should immediately obtain jurisdiction over their person, lest they be able to flee,” Guevarra said.
The nine are detained at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame.