Sulu clashes

Jolo cop shot Army intelligence officer thinking he was ‘Abu Sayyaf, drug lord’

Rambo Talabong
Jolo cop shot Army intelligence officer thinking he was ‘Abu Sayyaf, drug lord’
Police Staff Sergeant Iskandar Susulan says he joined the Jolo shooting incident that killed 4 Army intelligence officers without confirming who the targets were

One of the 9 Jolo cops accused of the “cold-blooded murder” of Army intelligence officers in late June claimed before a Senate panel that he just happened to be at the scene when the incident happened, and shot one of the soldiers, thinking they were Abu Sayyaf members or drug lords.

At the Senate hearing on the June 29 Jolo shooting incident on Wednesday, August 19, Police Staff Sergeant Iskandar Susulan said he was not among the group of cops who tailed the vehicle of Major Marvin Indammog, the leader of the 4-member Army intelligence team who were all killed in the incident.

Responding to Senator Risa Hontiveros, Susulan said he was at the Jolo Municipal Police Station when he saw the police vehicles passed by. He said he approached them to check what was happening, when the shooting started.

Nasa isip ko po, Abu Sayyaf o drug lord (I thought they were Abu Sayyaf members or drug lords),” Susulan said during the Senate legislative probe on the incident on Wednesday, August 19.

When Senator Ronald del Rosa asked him if he, too, fired his gun, Susulan responded, “Pumutok po (I fired my gun).”

His explanation angered Dela Rosa, the presiding officer of the probe, who said, “‘Di mo na-identify kung sino ang kalaban, nakiputok ka pa (You didn’t identify the enemy, yet you joined in the firefight).”

The 9 cops are also accused of planting of evidence with regards to the Jolo shooting incident.

Who did he shoot?

The 4 Army intelligence officers were gunned down by policemen after they were stopped at a checkpoint and ordered to go to the Jolo police station.

The shooting incident happened after the soldiers parked their vehicle a little past the police station, and the cops who tailed them alighted and confronted them. (READ: WATCH: The killing of 4 soldiers in Sulu – what happened before and after)

Susulan said that when he arrived at the crime scene, he already saw 3 people shot down by his colleagues, but then a passenger seat opened and another man allegedly carrying an Uzi submachine gun stepped out and apparently tried to shoot them.

Nagkabulagaan po kami…. Ako po ang nasa tamang anggulo…. Naunahan ko po siya (We were caught by surpride…. I was at the right angle…. I was able to shoot him first),” Susulan said.

Susulan identified the man he shot as Captain Irwin Managuelod.

Contradictions to his claim

His statement goes against the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which has been entrusted by the police and the military to lead the probe.

According to lawyer Zulikha Degamo of the NBI Death Investigation unit, police shot 3 of the 4 soldiers inside their SUV, including Managuelod, making it impossible for him to step out.

The lone soldier shot dead outside was Indammog, the leader of the Army intelligence officers. Citing witnesses they spoke with, Degamo said Indammog was shot dead by police even after he raised his hands and his shirt to show that he carried no firearms. –

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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.