Samar police, military misencounter a “meaningless loss of lives”

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Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday lamented the “meaningless loss of lives” in the bloody “misencounter” between soldiers and policemen in Sta. Rita, Samar, and stressed that preventing such instances from happening again should be the focus of the joint probe into the incident.

Last Monday, elements of the 805th Company of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Mobile Force and members of the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion figured in a 20-minute firefight in a deeply vegetated area in Sta. Rita town that left six cops dead and nine others injured.

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In the wake of the fatal mistaken encounter, a joint investigation team has been formed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP to conduct an investigation.

Lacson said the incident was “indeed unfortunate,” especially since it was not the first time that state forces were killed by so-called “friendly fire.”

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“Aside from the meaningless loss of human lives, government resources have been unnecessarily wasted in the recruitment and training of the PNP personnel concerned,” the former PNP chief-turned lawmaker said.

The veteran lawmaker agreed that a joint AFP-PNP probe should be undertaken, but said that it should not be so much as to find fault “as lapses in coordination should already be a foregone conclusion.”

“The investigation therefore must focus on preventing any similar occurrences in the future and in other areas where troops from different units are simultaneously operating against local rebels and secessionists,” Lacson said. (PNA)

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