COURT-martial proceedings are being readied against three soldiers implicated in the alleged rape of a minor lumad (indigenous person) in Davao del Norte, the Philippine Army announced on Sunday.
In a statement, the Army said it conducted an internal investigation even in the absence of a formal complaint from the alleged victim.
“The result of the submitted report by the 10th Infantry Division based in Mawab, Davao del Norte, recommended to charge individually the three soldiers involved in the case in a general court-martial for violation of the Article of War (AW) 97 or conduct of a nature that brings discredit upon the military service,” Army chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano said
The soldiers, whose names are still withheld, denied the accusations against them but the other details of the case gave the Army’s investigating body a prima facie case against them for violation of AW 97.
“Even in the absence of a complainant, the Army has the obligation to ensure that our soldiers act accordingly and decisively as required by existing AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] laws, regulations, directives or policies,” said Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, the commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.
He pointed out that even though no formal complaint was submitted, the result of the investigation was based on the information given by Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, and the affidavits submitted by the concerned personnel.
Meanwhile, the company commander of the three soldiers was also recommended for administrative sanction in violation of the policy of “commander’s responsibility” of promptly initiating the conduct of investigation to determine the administrative liability of personnel involved and failure to inform his immediate superior.
“The immediate release of the findings of our Board of Inquiry is a manifestation that we are serious in addressing the human-rights issues and other cases against our personnel. Our Army troops must and will always abide with the highest standards of human rights, IHL [International Humanitarian Law] and the rule of law,” Ano noted.