Isabela military accused of coddling rape suspect

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LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET: The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) has accused a military unit of coddling a soldier suspected of rape after Cordillera police arrested him in a Philippine Army detachment in Isabela.

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Policemen several days ago arrested Christopher Collado Baccay, 28, a soldier of the Army’s 54th Infantry Batallion (IB), at the headquarters of the 5th Infantry Division (ID) in Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, according to Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez.

Abigail Bengwayan, secretary general of the CPA said, “It appears that the 5th ID is coddling an alleged rapist among their ranks.”

“If 5th [ID] is true to their oath to protect the people, they should have surrendered Baccay to the court,” she maintained.

A charge for intentional abortion with rape was filed against Baccay who, prior to his apprehension, was listed as Ifugao’s third most wanted person. The cited case is pending before Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court of Lagawe town in Ifugao.

The CPA also enumerated other cases where military units were found to have allegedly harbored soldiers who were accused of various crimes.

It cited, among others, the case of Army Capt. Danilo Lalin of the then Benguet-stationed 86th IB who was accused of raping a teenage girl from Mankayan town. The CPA claimed that the 5th ID also coddled Lalin.

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