AFP-PNP probers readying report on ‘misencounter’

THE joint board of inquiry (BOI) set up by the military and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the alleged misencounter in Samar region bettween soldiers and policemen that killed six cops last week is looking to submit its report by Wednesday (July 4).

“We will just be meeting with the joint board of inquiry set up by the military and the Philippine National Police on the alleged misencounter in Samar region between soldiers and policemen that killed six cops last week is looking to submit its report by Wednesday [July 4].

“We will just be meeting with the PNP-BOI for us to finalize our report. Our timeline is we should already have a report by Wednesday,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines Inspector General Lt. Gen. Rafael Valencia, who heads the BOI for the military side.

Valencia said on Sunday that the BOI has finished gathering evidence, and the only ongoing discussion now pertains to the “concerns” by both sides—about which he did not elaborate.

The board was created to look into the events surrounding the deaths of the six members of the police’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 and the wounding of nine others in what was reported as an ambush by members of the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion (IB).

The military, however, maintained the incident was a misencounter. The soldiers had claimed they mistook the cops for communist rebels.

Valencia said the joint report would be submitted to PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde and Armed Forces (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr.

Both sides of the BOI also have their separate reports for their own services.

Aside from the BOI, the PNP also created a special investigation task group that is looking into the Samar incident, while the 87th IB and the 8th Infantry Division  also created and conducted their own investigation.

Meanwhile, the 8th ID said the AFP has maintained a very harmonious relationship with the PNP for the “longest time,” forging a formidable team as dependable pillars of the government in the security sector.

“For years, the capability and interoperability of both were proven, primarily in addressing local insurgency, secessionism, and threats of terrorism.

The two had been conducting joint operations in the fight against internal threats and national crimes to promote better and peaceful community,”  it said.

The 8th ID said the partnership was well demonstrated in the five-month siege of Marawi City last year, where soldiers and policemen fought side by side in rooting up terrorists from the city.

“The AFP, in general, remains optimistic that the situation will be resolved immediately so that they can continue working and focus on matters that are more essential to the interest of the government and the country,” said 8th ID commander Major General Raul Farnacio.

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Rene P. Acosta covers defense, law enforcement and national security for the paper. He had written for a number of publications, including abroad before he joined BusinessMirror. His works had appeared in the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Asia Pacific Defense Forum, both in the US. He took up regional security with the International Visitor Leadership Program, US. He is currently the chairman of the board of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines which he had headed in 2009.

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