Overkill, wife says of attack on soldier in Zambo Sur

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Metcheal Bartolome said family members were eager at welcoming her husband, Private First Class Rodilo Torres Bartolome, as the latter was scheduled to go home to Zamboanga del Sur province on Wednesday for a break in his combat duty in Marawi City.

But they were devastated when they received news that Rodilo was killed by policemen in Aurora town, some 50 kilometers from his hometown of Midsalip.

Metcheal on Friday said her husband’s death was painful to accept and described the attack as overkill. She said her husband died from 11 bullet wounds, all fired at close range.

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Sobriety

The military has called for sobriety over the killing of Rodilo Bartolome, a member of the 53rd Infantry Battalion based in Marawi City. The soldier was part of government troops fighting terrorists, led by the Maute group, who took over sections of Marawi in May.

Bartolome, 33, was shot and killed by two policemen in Aurora, where he was waiting for a van ride home. The policemen were later identified as PO2 Ronald Zeros and PO1 Michael Bullanday.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Western Mindanao regional police director, said the police were “establishing the facts” surrounding Bartolome’s death but declined to give details.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson for the Western Mindanao Command, appealed for “prayers and sobriety,” as the military sought immediate resolution of the case.

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“We are doing our best to calm down everyone,” she said, as netizens condemned the killing. “It pained us to lose a kind man whose motto in life was to make us all smile or laugh,” said Petinglay, who said she knew Bartolome.

‘Suspicious person’

Beltran said the policemen responded to a call from Aurora residents about a “suspicious person” in Barangay Monte Alegre.

“The responding policemen said Bartolome [drew] a gun as they were approaching [him]. The policemen, who were on a motorcycle, fired at him, hitting him a number of times.”

A witness said Bartolome was waiting for a van near an abandoned police checkpoint when the policemen arrived.

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Bartolome, according to the witness, was pulling his wallet out of his pocket to get his ID when the policemen started shooting him.

“We all got scared. That man was unarmed,” the witness said.

Beltran said he informed Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Westmincom commander, and other military officials that he was forming an investigating team to look into the incident.

“I will make sure that we uncover all the facts as soon as possible,” Beltran said.

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