WHILE calling it a case of a simple quarrel, US authorities are conducting an investigation on the girlie bar melee involving US servicemen and Filipino policemen in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on April 2.
Captain Celeste Frank Sayson, Balikatan 2016 spokesman for the Philippines said their US counterparts have issued a statement saying that they will not take the incident lightly.
“Any potential misconduct of U.S. service members is completely unacceptable and not compatible with U.S. military standards. Appropriate actions, which will be at their command’s discretion, will be taken at their home stations. US military personnel appreciate the opportunity to experience the local culture while training in the Philippines, and are expected to abide by an established liberty policy at all times while doing so. The US military demands high standards of conduct from service members at all times and takes all incidents involving potential misconduct very seriously,” said US Marine Capt. Alex Lim, US Balikatan spokesperson, in a statement.
At least five US soldiers, who names and units were withheld for “privacy concerns,” were reportedly involved in the scuffle with local policemen.
The US soldiers are participants in the ongoing military exercise – Balikatan 2016 – between the Philippines and the US.
“As of the moment the names and units of the [US] servicemen members will not be released for privacy concerns. Appropriate actions will be at the command’s discretion of their respective home stations,” Sayson said.
He added he has no information as to the status of the US soldiers.
Meanwhile, Sayson said that based on the investigation by Philippine authorities, the incident was plain fisticuffs but was immediately settled.
He added that the parties involved have paid for the damages in the bar resulting from the melee.
“They separated in good terms. In fact walang blotter ‘to, walang reklamo [there was no blotter and complaint]and therefore we consider this as plain and simple brawling inside the bar, away lasing kumbaga [misunderstanding among the drunks],” the spokesman said.
It is now a matter of breach of discipline, according to Sayson.
A video of the incident uploaded on Youtube showed that the brawl ensued after one of the US soldiers tapped the beer bottle of one of the policemen’s companion, causing it to spill.
Cooler heads tried to pacify the parties, and one of the policemen was seen on the video pulling out a gun from a bag.
Reports said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is investigating the policemen for possible violations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban.