After Samar ‘misencounter’: Army, PNP cooperation remains strong

The “misencounter” between Philippine Army and Philippine National Police units in Samar on Monday, June 25, 2018 will not dampen the cooperation between the two law enforcement units in carrying out their mandate,” Philippine Army (PA) spokesperson Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva said.

“Despite this challenge, we will continue to perform our mandate alongside the Philippine National Police (PNP) to serve the interest and protect the well-being of the people,” Lt. Col. Villanueva said.

The said “misencounter” caused the death of six policemen and injuries to nine others. Killed and wounded during the encounter are all junior police officers of one of the PNP’s elite force trained in anti-insurgency operations. No one was hurt from the military.

At about 9:20 a.m. on Monday, elements of the 1st Platoon, 805th Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 of the PNP and troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion had a misencounter as they were patrolling Sitio Lonoy, Barangay San Roque, Sta. Rita, Samar. Sta. Rita has been identified as one of the areas in the region infested by the New People’s Army. The town is just 30 kilometers away from Tacloban, crossing the San Juanico Bridge

“This thing, though unexpected and uncalled for, do happen sometimes in the course of performing our critical task of serving and protecting the people. The incident happened due to the common desire of our Army and police forces to eliminate the real nuisance communist terrorists of our community that often create havoc and offer deceptive manipulation that further led the people to extreme sufferings,” Lt. Col. Villanueva said.

To address the incident, the Army and the PNP have created a special investigating body that would determine the gaps and lapses in the operation.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) will conduct a joint inquiry regarding the alleged “misencounter” between Army troopers and police operatives in Samar province on Monday morning.

“This is a very unfortunate event that nobody wanted to happen. Together with the DND, we will form a board of inquiry to investigate the incident in order to determine the cause of this unfortunate event and draw up measures to prevent the same from happening again,” DILG Officer-In-Charge Secretary Eduardo Año said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has directed police units to cooperate with the Special Investigation. All concerned PNP units were also ordered to extend utmost cooperation and assistance to the Special Investigation Task Group that was created to conduct a fact-finding investigation of the incident in coordination with AFP counterparts.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. directed that there should be no cover-up on the investigation on the “misencounter.”

“We have already mounted joint and independent investigations and we assure the public that this investigation will be transparent and that no-cover up will be allowed to happen in our mutual desire to discover the actual circumstances of our actions. Our actions moving forward from this is to assess our existing coordinated processes and systems with our brothers in the Philippine National Police so that similar unfortunate incidents will not happen again,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said.