Military company commander, 7 others relieved from post-A A +A
Friday, October 19, 2012
MANILA -- A company commander and seven of his men were ordered relieved from their post and placed under investigation for possible lapses in last Thursday's clash with armed men that killed a wife and young children of the group's leader.
Ordered relieved by 10th Infantry Division commander Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo were 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, commanding officer of Bravo Company of the 27th Infantry Battalion, and members of the seven-man squad who were all directly involved in the operation.
Bernardo said Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo was also placed under investigation but said the officer was not relieved from his post. He said the investigation will determine if there is a need to impose sanctions on him.
Bravo earlier said that his men were dispatched to Kimlawis village in Kiblawan town last Thursday morning to check a reported presence of armed men. As they were approaching a hut, he said the soldiers were fired upon.
The fighting resulted in the killing of Juvy Capeon, the wife of the group leader Daquil Capeon; and their teenager-sons Pop and John; and wounding of the couple's seven-year-old daughter, Vicky.
Citing initial inquiry, Bernardo said the incident was a "legitimate encounter" but it was unfortunate that there were collateral damages. He said government forces have been pursuing the group for various atrocities.
Bernardo said the investigation, being conducted by a Board of Inquiry that he created, will be parallel to the ongoing investigation by the PNP Scene of the Crime Office.
"My action here at the 10th Infantry Division is to recall the company commander, the squad responsible, to include the battalion commander for investigation. I created a Board of Inquiry to investigate these people for possible violation of the rules of engagement," said Bernardo.
"The (members of the) squad and the company were relieved for investigation and the battalion commander is also being (investigated). The result of the investigation would determine up to what level the command responsibility goes, whether it goes up to the battalion commander," he said.
Asked if there are indications the wife and the children fired shots at the soldiers, Bernardo said this will be the subject of the investigation. "We deemed it proper to investigate our people, how it happened, (why) there were collateral damages and were there violations of our rules of engagement," he said. (VR/Sunnex)