A SOLDIER deployed in Lanao del Sur was relieved from duty after allegedly verbally abusing civilian passengers of a bus passing through a checkpoint, according to a military spokesman.
Col. Edgard Arevalo said Corporal Marlon Lorigas, who was monitoring a checkpoint at Marantao, Lanao del Sur, was “immediately relieved from his position and was now undergoing investigation”.
In an interview with reporters in Camp Aquinaldo on Tuesday, Arevalo added that charges would be filed against him “once investigation results prove that he was accountable”.
The report has reached the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief who, Arevalo said, took action on Lorigas.
Arevalo said, however, that the incident was an “isolated case” and only the first reported abuse committed by a deployed military officer while martial law was in effect in the whole island of Mindanao.
After President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law following the siege by Islamic State-inspired Maute fighters in Marawi City, concerns were raised over the conduct of the troops.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was one of those who expressed the view that such an imposition would “result in impunity.”
But Arevalo allayed public fears as he reiterated that it was only the first report of abuse the military has received since martial law was declared on May 23.
“As what we are saying, this is an isolated case, it has been shown that this is a very isolated incident. The military is committed that this will not happen again,” Arevalo said.
“Even the most serious critics of martial law would understand that there should be due process observed before we should be able to condemn a person,” Arevalo said.