Military willing to cooperate on human rights probe on two soldiers
The military is willing to cooperate in investigation of alleged human rights violations by Philippine Army soldiers on two farmers from Compostela Valley province last December 2017, a military spokesman said Saturday.
“We do not condone any misbehavior of our soldiers particularly on these two aspects. The organization strictly implements sanction and penalty to those who violates it,” said Major Ezra Balagtey of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command.
“In this allegation, we welcome any investigation by any legitimate investigating agency and further cooperate as this will provide opportunity for our unit and personnel to answer the allegation squarely and bring closure to this issue the soonest possible time,” he said.
“We reiterate the position of Eastern Mindanao Command in its adherence to the International Humanitarian Law and Respect of Human Rights in all aspects of military endeavor,” Balagtey added.
Despite the allegations, Balagtey said the military “will remain steadfast in our mandate to secure the communities and prevent terrorism to rule in our people's midst.”
Capt. Jerry Lamosao, public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the military is conducting its own inquiry.
“As for 10th ID, we will cooperate with the legal, responsive and concerned authorities...as for the complaint; our units will cooperate also on the investigation with the PNP,” Lamosao said.
“We do not tolerate our troops who are committing violation. It will be sanctioned accordingly. But as to the alleged human rights violation, complainant should file it to proper and legal authorities. We are more willing to cooperate and find out the truth behind these allegations,” he added.
Human rights group Karapatan identified the two farmers as Janry Mensis, 22 and certain Jerry, 17,.
The group accompanied the two farmers who were also part-time workers in a small scale mine in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, when they lodged complaints at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against the soldiers of Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion.
The two were allegedly abducted, illegally detained, and brutally tortured by the soldiers of Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion in Tagum City, Davao del Norte from November 28 to December 6, 2017.
Lamosao said the military is expecting more allegations from the allies of the communist group as the government troops continued to “gained ground” against the rebels. Robina Asido/DMS