MANILA - Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa on Thursday said that there is "no animosity" between the heads of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after policemen in Sulu killed 4 soldiers who were going after Abu Sayyaf bombers.
Dela Rosa said he called AFP chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. and PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa after the incident as several AFP members were "angered" and "demoralized" over the incident.
"There was no animosity between them," Dela Rosa told reporters in an online press conference when asked about the phone call.
"Okay naman... They agreed na pabayaan nila yung NBI (National Bureau of Investigations) to undertake [investigations]," said the senator, who served as PNP chief before being elected into office.
"Sa taas walang problema. Mag-mistah 'yang mga nasa taas eh. Hindi mahirap ang coordination diyan. Sa baba dapat, yung mga tao nila," he said.
Dela Rosa said he "reminded" Santos and Gamboa to "control their subordinate commanders," noting that government will be on the losing end should tensions between the defense and law enforcement agencies escalate.
"Talagang demoralized yung kabila (AFP). Hindi mawawala ang galit, napatayan sila ng magagaling na opisyal, mga promising officials 'yun," the senator said.
"Nasayangan sila sa buhay ng mga sundalo na namatay," he said.
Dela Rosa said general and commanders should try to mend the "distrust" between AFP and PNP members, especially those stationed in Mindanao.
"'Yung word na 'distrust', 'yan 'yung isang mabigat na hindi gaano sinasabi, hindi binabanggit but it is present," Dela Rosa said.
"Both sides refuse to talk about it dahil magiging unethical or unbecoming," he said.
The former PNP chief said that several soldiers do not trust the police in Mindanao as some of the latter may have relatives who are members of the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups.
Some policemen are also wary of AFP personnel due to allegations that criminal syndicates have protectors in the military.
"Dapat constant 'yung coordination nila. Dapat mag-uusap sila palagi para ma-establish 'yung rapport, bond among units," Dela Rosa said.
"So yun ang ine-encourage natin... Dapat as much as possible, hindi sila magpaapekto para tuloy ang mandate nila doon," he said.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte travelled to Zamboanga City to meet with the policemen who shot the 4 soldiers to death.
The commander in chief urged the military to wait for the findings of the NBI, saying he was "not ready to condemn anybody."