Jolo police chief sacked as probe over cops who killed soldiers begins

Rambo Talabong
The relief further paves the way for an impartial investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation

SHOOTING. The crime scene in Jolo, Sulu, after police shot dead 4 Army soldiers on June 29, 2020. Photo from the Philippine Army

MANILA, Philippines – The police chief of Jolo, Sulu was sacked from his post on Wednesday, July 1, at the start of the probe of the killing by cops of 4 intelligence officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

This was confirmed to Rappler by Sulu provincial police officer-in-charge Colonel Michael Bawayan, who said that Lieutenant Colonel Walter Annayo was placed in their holding unit.

Bawayan clarified that Annayo was not under his custody, but only assigned to their holding unit. This means Annayo must report to the provincial headquarters regularly.

What happened? On Monday afternoon, the Sulu cops gunned down 4 AFP soldiers after an alleged confrontation and car chase in the provincial capital of Sulu. The Sulu police said the soldiers pulled out guns, forcing the cops to fire and kill them.

The AFP disputed the narrative, saying that the soldiers were “fired upon” while they were “doing their work.” The Army later characterized the incident as a “murder” of the defenseless soldiers.

Why does this matter? The relief of Annayo will pave the way for an impartial investigation for the case, which is already being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Still, the NBI’s probe is backed by the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and its Internal Affairs Service, which is preparing administrative complaints. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.