Published: Friday 29 June, 2018

Ambush or Misencounter in Samar? Soldiers Say Police were Mistaken for Rebels

Soldiers thought the police force they encountered in Samar were NPA rebels. Meanwhile, President Duterte took full responsibility for the ‘misencounter’ that led to the death of six policemen and injured nine others.

misencounter in Samar

Duterte visits the wake of one of the victims of the Samar misencounter. (Malacanang photo)

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) formed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) continued its investigation into the misencounter in Samar. A group, together with representatives from both sides (police and army) conducted an ocular inspection of the encounter site in the hinterlands of Samar.

According to the report aired on State of the Nation Friday night, the soldiers mistook the police force as NPA rebels. Soldiers interviewed on cam said what they saw were men in uniforms similar to what rebels would wear. 

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It was also revealed that the police force were not informed that members of the Philippine Army would be patrolling the area. Likewise, the soldiers said they were not informed that there would be a police force as well. Due to this, they concluded that the men they saw in the forest of Samar were none other than NPA rebels.

One of the soldiers interviewed said they all cried when they found out that they had killed policemen. It was accidental, he claims.

The Board of Inquiry is still trying to determine who issued the order to fire on the police forces, and why there was a lapse in judgement considering that the distance between the two forces was only about 15 to 20 meters.

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Meanwhile, President Duterte took full responsibility for the Samar misencounter and stop blaming each other.

“I would like to tell you that the ultimate blame, fault is on me,” Duterte said in Leyte after visiting the wake of one of the victims.

“I told them, forget about it. It was not intentional and you know the Murphy’s Law operates the way it is. If things can go wrong, it will go wrong,” he added.

“And so I said to the police and the army, I am your commander and so I just said that it’s all my fault, but since you’re all my soldiers, let us forget the hurts, allow the investigation to go on, and let us see what develops in the future,” Duterte said.





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