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PNP, AFP to probe misencounter in Samar between soldiers, police

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Soldiers recover remains of policemen killed in the misencounter. (Photo courtesy of HPG REGION 8)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson PSSupt. Benigno Durana Jr. said Tuesday (June 26) that they have formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the bloody misencounter between the police and military in Samar, in response to the immediate order from PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

Also, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) was formed to serve as a support group that will coordinate closely with its counterparts in the military. It will be led by Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) Eastern Visayas Director Rolando Felix.

“The Board of Inquiry will not only look into the incident itself but look into the operational strategic ramification of that incident so that this kind of unfortunate incident will not happen in the future,” said Durana.

The incident, which happened in Sitio Lunoy Barangay San Roque in Sta. Rita, Samar early Monday (June 25), accidentally killed six policemen and injured nine others when members of the 87th Infantry Battalion mistaken as rebel troops of the 805th Mobile Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 conducting minor combat operations in the area.

Among the issues that the investigating body will determine is MGen. Raul Farnacio’s claim that the cops were using outdated radio units that did not match their Harris communication equipment and so caused failure in coordination.

The investigation will also look into the matter on whether or not an official was accompanying the troops during the operation.

Durana said the PNP Chief already instructed SITG head PCSupt. Mariel Magaway to facilitate the processing and speedy release of all benefits due to the families of the victims.

Magaway, for his part, assured that the incident will not affect the working relationship between the Armed Forces of the Philippine and the PNP; emphasizing that no one on both sides expected for it to happen as it was an accident.

“It will not affect in any way. Aksidente ito (It was an accident). This is an unfortunate incident so wala naming may gusto nito (nobody wanted it). This is an accident, wala ng iba (nothing more),” Magaway firmly said in a press briefing in Samar.

Malacañang through Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, meanwhile, appealed to the public to give the investigation a chance to uncover what really transpired in the shooting ground. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo

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Probe on Samar misencounter to end on Wednesday – BOI

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Board of Inquiry (BOI) Head Police Director Ronaldo Felix

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigating the Samar misencounter between soldiers and policemen has set to end its probe on Wednesday (July 4).

Board of Inquiry (BOI) head Police Director Ronaldo Felix said they are just waiting for the result of the ballistic test from the crime laboratory on the firearms the soldiers used during the incident.

Felix, however, said they couldn’t tell yet if there is truth behind claims that the incident that happened in Sitio Lunoy, Barangay San Roque in Sta. Rita, Samar on June 25 was an ambush against policemen.

“Our focus is the aspect ng (of the) coordination, the aspect of what really transpired. Iyong mga minor details noon ay dapat sa special investigation task group (The minor details of the incident should be dealt by the special investigation task group),” Felix said.

Six members of the PNP Special Action Force were killed in the said misencounter while nine others were injured. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo

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DILG assures no whitewash in probe over Samar misencounter

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) allayed fears of possible whitewash in the ongoing investigation into the deadly misencounter between soldiers and policemen in Sta. Rita, Samar.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured that persons responsible in the incident will face appropriate charges and that they will implement measures to ensure no recurrence of a similar incident.

“We will institute measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future and identify the responsible commanders why this misencounter happened,” Año said.

On Wednesday, members of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) inspected the area in Sta. Rita where policemen and soldiers exchanged fire.

Surviving policemen also accompanied the group to re-enact and provide details of the incident.

Initial investigation showed that the nearest soldier who fired against the policemen was situated around 12 to 13 meters away based on the recovered bullet shells.

“Hindi na ganoon iyong original na itsura nung pwesto or yung level nung visibility… may part na medyo marerecognize mo may mga part kung saan narecover yung mga shells ay medyo hindi,” described PDir. Rolando Felix, the head of the BOI.

PO1 Arafat Abah, one of the survivors, said the military should have been able to identify them as they were wearing uniforms.
“Sobrang lapit lang. Diyan kami nakapwesto bago magsimula iyong putukan. Imposible iyon na hindi kami makilala kasi iyong iba iyong bandolier may nakalagay na police,” recalled Abah.

“Sumisigaw ako ng pantakot nalang din sa kabila na forward, forward, putok, putok, putok walang aalis dito lang kasi kapag umalis kami dun babakbakan lang kami. Parang ini-offer lang iyong mga sarili namin para patayin,” recalled another survivor, PO1 Orlando Guino.

Año believes such incident should have been avoided with all the modern devices that the armed forces are using on the ground.

Meanwhile, relatives of the slain cops are set to receive P500,000 cash assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte which is apart from the burial assistance, monthly pension and livelihood offered to the spouses of the victims as well as education scholarship to their children. – Raymond Octubre / Marje Pelayo

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Soldiers mistakenly kill 6 cops in Samar encounter

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Bodies of cops accidentally killed by members of Philippine Army 87IB Charlie Coy in a chance-encounter in Villareal, Samar (June 25) Photo courtesy of Lope Erasca Cebreros III. Courtesy: Lope erasca cebreros III.

 

SAMAR Island, Philippines – Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 87IB Charlie Coy mistakenly killed six police officers as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area of Villarreal, Samar on Monday night (June 25).

Nine other cops were injured in the encounter, said Major-General Raul Farnacio, who called the incident “unfortunate.”

Farnacio, in a statement, said the AFP is coordinating with Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a joint AFP-PNP investigation on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“As we sincerely condole with the families of our brothers in the PNP, we assure the bereaved families that appropriate actions will be taken if there be any lapses committed in either sides. This is to ensure that the incident will not happen again,” the military officer added. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo

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