GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Police have launched a deeper investigation into an altercation between a group of soldiers and civilians outside a bar in Polomolok town in South Cotabato early Sunday that left a person dead and two others injured.

Sr. Supt. Franklin Alvero, South Cotabato police director, said Monday the shooting happened at past 2 a.m. infront of the newly-opened Blue Bar along Cannery Road in Polomolok town.

Citing their investigation, he said a group of government troops under the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) entered the bar late Saturday night to have some drinks but figured in a heated argument with a group of civilians.

He said they later clashed outside the bar that resulted to one of the soldiers shooting at the other group.

The fatality was identified as construction worker Aries John Ang, 23, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds on his legs and body.

Wounded were senior high school student John Angelo Felisilda, 18, and Freddie Simacas, 27, both residents of Poblacion, Polomolok.

Recovered at the scene were a caliber .45 handgun with eight live bullets and three spent bullets.

The suspect, who was arrested by responding policemen, was identified as Private First Class (Pfc) Reynold Londres, 28, a member of the 27IB based in Tupi, South Cotabato.

His companions were only identified as Staff Sergeant Trance, Pfc. Sabillo and Staff Sergeant Rebullos.

"We’re still investigating what really happened since there were different versions given by the involved groups,” Alvero said.

But based on the initial facts of the incident, he said the suspect could be charged with murder and multiple frustrated murder.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander, 27IB commander, said the shooting ensued after his men were supposedly attacked by at least eight bar goers, including the victims.

He said Pfc. Londres and the three other soldiers were then considered on active duty as intelligence operatives.

“The aggressors were the other party. They reportedly tried to snatch his (Londres) handgun so he reacted instinctively,” he said in a radio interview.

The Army official said he is still waiting for the release of the official investigation report from the Polomolok police on the incident and only aware of the version of his men.

He said they will abide by the results of the police investigation and will fully cooperate with them as needed.

“Rest assured that we will respect the police investigation and the corresponding judicial process,” he added.(PNA)