THE Justice Department yesterday said it has formed a panel that will handle the preliminary investigation of the criminal cases filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against six policemen of the Jolo municipal police station and three others from the Sulu provincial drug enforcement unit tagged in the killing of four Army intelligence operatives last month.
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamara will lead the panel, with Assistant State Prosecutors Conzuelo Corazon Pazziuagan and Alejandro Daguiso and Public Attorney Gino Angelo Yanga as members.
Malcontento said they have yet to set the date for the start of the preliminary investigation.
Charged for murder and planting of evidence were Police SMS.Abdelzhimar Pajiri, MS Hanie Badirri, SSgts. Iskandar Susulan, Ernisar Sappal and Almudzrin Hadjarudin, Cpl.Sulki Andaki and Patrolmen Muhammad Nur Pasani, Rajiv Putalan and Alkajal Mandangan.
Hadjaruddin, Mandangan and Putalan are members of the provincial drug enforcement unit.
Murder is a non-bailable offense under the Revised Penal Code.
Sulu police provincial director Col. Michael Bawayan, Jolo police chief Maj. Walter Annayo and drug enforcement unit chief Capt. Ariel Corcino were charged for neglect of duty.
The nine policemen charged for murder and planting of evidence did not submit a statement to the NBI during its investigation, saying they would do so when the case has been forwarded to the prosecutor.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said three of the slain Army officers – Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod and Sgt. Eric Velasco – sustained gunshot wounds at the back. He added the slugs and empty shells recovered at the crime scene matched with the firearms of the police officers.
The body of the fourth slain Army soldier, Cpl. Abdal Asula, was not subjected to autopsy by the NBI in accordance with Islamic tradition calling for the burial of the dead within 24 hours.