MANILA – Allegations that Cpl. Abdal Asula, one of the four military intelligence operatives killed by local police officers in Jolo, Sulu last June 29, was into illegal drugs aims to draw attention away from the senseless killings, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Thursday.
“That is obviously a desperate attempt by the assailants to besmirch the reputation of Corporal Asula to justify or to divert the attention away from the senseless killing of the soldiers,” said AFP spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo in a statement.
The military issued the statement after Brig. Gen. Manuel Abu, head of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in a Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee hearing, made presentations Wednesday claiming that Asula had links with an illegal drugs syndicate.
“The police earlier invoked self-defense even if investigation by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and eye-witness accounts clearly testify that there was no unlawful aggression or sufficient provocation to warrant the shooting. And now, the vilification of one of the slain soldiers,” Arevalo said.
He added that the local police are coming up with all sorts of falsities to attempt to shirk criminal, civil, and administrative responsibilities for the murder of the four AFP personnel.
Killed in the June 29 incident in Jolo, Sulu were Major Marvin A. Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin B. Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime M. Velasco, 38 and Asula, 33.
The four soldiers were conducting intelligence and monitoring operations against two suspected suicide bombers when gunned down by nine Jolo-detailed police officers.
Meanwhile, Philippine Army commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said the Army ranks are always cleared of individuals with illegal drug links, adding that those found with such connections are immediately investigated and discharged from the service if found guilty.
“Once you are (found) involved with (illegal) drugs, you will be discharged,” he added.
Sobejana said that when he was Western Mindanao Command chief, he had these accusations against Asula investigated and nothing came of it. Priam Nepomuceno / PNA – northboundasia.com