An arrest warrant is yet to be issued against the nine policemen involved in the shooting and death of four intelligence operatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
This was disclosed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday, saying the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Jolo, Sulu still has not ordered the arrest of the suspects more than a week since it filed four counts of murder and planting of evidence against them.
Lawyer Honey Delgado, spokesperson of the Office of the Prosecutor General, said the criminal information against the policemen were filed on 4 January.
Delgado said the delay in the issuance of the arrest warrants could be due to the fact that Sulu province is now on lockdown as an added measure to prevent the entry of the new coronavirus disease strain following reports that it has already reached Sabah, Malaysia.
Charged were Police S/MS. Abdelzhimar Pajiri, M/S. Hanie Badirri, S/Sgts. Iskandar Susulan, Ernisar Sappal and Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Cpl. Sulki Andaki and Patrolmen Muhammad Nur Pasani, Rajiv Putalan and Alkajal Mandangan.
Their dismissal from the Philippine National Police was finalized earlier this week and their custody turned over to their respective families as the PNP no longer has any legal authority to detain them.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier expressed apprehension that the accused might be able to flee if the warrants for their arrest are not issued soon.
“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 case stemmed from the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation accusing the policemen of murder and planting of evidence in connection with the killing of Army Maj. Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Eric Velasco and Cpl. Abdul Asula.