President Rodrigo Duterte’s televised speech from Zamboanga City was aired just minutes after the public found out the much-protested anti-terrorism law has been signed.
He made no mention of the anti-terrorism law, but in his speech repeatedly implored for calm between military and police following the Jolo shooting incident where four soldiers were killed by police, addressing serious tensions between two agencies who have taken part in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism programs of the government and would also be seen to implement Republic Act No 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“Iyan ang pinuntahan ko dito kasi mahal ko ang sundalo ko. Mahal ko rin ang pulis ko. Puro nagtatrabaho. And at the end of the day, maski ano ang desisyon dito sa baba, ‘pag sinabi ko na huwag na muna, do not… Eh nasusunod. Ako ang nasusunod kaya I feel so responsible sa mga pulis ko pati sa mga military,” said Duterte.
Duterte repeatedly pleaded for calm until National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe results on the Jolo shooting are out.
“Ngayon, ang masabi ko lang sa inyo is ‘yang gusto ko talagang maimbestiga ito at gusto ko lumabas ang totoo at gusto ko ‘yung may kasalanan will have to face the consequences. Ganoon na lang ang sabihin ko sa inyo,” said Duterte.
He vouched that the NBI will do its job in the investigation and he has ordered them to ‘get the truth’ and not bungle the investigation or there will be more trouble.
“May mga g*** na pulis, sigurado ‘yan. May mga g*** rin na sundalo. So kaya I am not ready to condemn anybody except that we should give time to the NBI to finish the… They have started and they are at it now. Hayaan na natin because sabi ko kilala ko itong mga ‘to. Mga mahuhusay ito at sinsero,” said Duterte.
He also recounted his good deeds for the army during his term, such as having doubled their salary, gave them sidearms that ‘cost him a billion,’ gave them equipment, medicine and hospitals, in efforts to engage them to follow his request for calm.
“Walang ibang presidente ng Pilipinas na lumingon para sa inyo. Totoo ‘yan. Iyon lang suweldo pati ‘yung mga equipment ninyo sa ospital pati ‘yung medisina para sa gamot, ‘yan lang ang — ‘yon ang…,” said Duterte.
His appeals were directed at deterring military from taking revenge from the police.
“Walain ninyo ‘yang hatred kasi it has no place sa atin. We cannot take revenge. We cannot go there and get them and lynch them. It ain’t that way. Ang importante malaman at ‘yung totoo umabot sa inyo at kuntento kayo na ‘yon ang totoo,” Duterte said.
The president spoke to troops at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City on the night of July 3.
On June 29, at past 2pm, at least nine Sulu cops accost four Army men aboard a Montero SUV in Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo, instructing them to come with them to the Jolo Municipal Police Station, leading to a shooting incident that killed the four army men: Sergeant Jaime Velasco, Major Marvin Indammog, Captain Irwin Managuelod and Corporal Abdal Asula.
The nine cops were disarmed and detained under the Sulu Provincial Police Office as the NBI began its investigation, while the Jolo police chief was sacked. The military have not minced its words against the police’s responsibility in the incident. CCTV footage, while unable to capture the shooting, did not indicate a firefight and the police did not report a gunfight, while the military cried murder.
He also mentioned of a case when it was police who had casualties.
“Noong ang pulis ang namatay apat — I am not comparing, I’m just saying what I did. Noong nakita ko medyo mainit, kayo you were there in the command conference. I’m sure kung anong sinabi ko sa inyo, I do not want to hear anything about that incident at all. Mahirap kasi na mag-ano ng istorya ng patayan ng mga tao mo. It is not a pleasant task and it’s not a good one. So nakalimutan na ‘yon,” said Duterte.
Duterte also pleaded his case for having a military men-filled cabinet.
“Tingnan mo ‘yung Cabinet ko, kalahati puro retired generals. Kalahati ng Cabinet members, predominantly diyan. Ang Bisaya diyan dalawa na lang, si Briones pati ako. Karamihan sundalo sila Delfin. Pinauwi ko nga si Delfin noong na-Presidente ako kasi kilala ko nga. Sabi ko, “Tulungan mo ako.”
Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former Special Assistant to the President and now Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go accompanied Duterte as he talked to troops.
Duterte said he has put the military first.
“Nauuna talaga kayo. But you know, itong mga ano, as we try to journey this life, ikaw as a soldier, it’s a very dangerous job. But for the others, for the nation, for the people, para sa kanila na rin kasi hindi natin…,” said Duterte.