13 soldiers guilty over death of tribal leader’s wife, 2 sons

DAVAO CITY — Thirteen members of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army are reportedly found guilty for the death of the wife and two sons of a B’laan tribal leader in what could be a “massacre” in the hinterlands of Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur more than two weeks ago.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said that the result of the investigation conducted by the board of inquiry showed that the soldiers, including a lieutenant, who led the operating team, was found to be violating the Rules of Engagement of the Articles of War.

“Investigation showed that there is a tactical lapse and gross negligence of duty,” Paniza said, adding the involved soldiers could be discharged from military service and face criminal charges and be jailed.

He said that this is to show that the military is not condoning any wrongdoing committed by the rank and file of the Philippine Army.

“We shall let the rule of law to prevail,” he said.

It can be recalled that soldiers swooped down into the reported house of Daguil Capion, a known bandit leader who was blamed to a number of killings in Barangay Kimlawis, Kiblawan over his opposition to the Tampakan copper and gold project, and engaged him in a firefight.

But they missed on Capion but hit his two-month-old pregnant wife, Juvy and two sons, Pop and John, who died to gunshot wounds on their heads and bodies.

The Capion family was backed by so-called human rights groups and anti-mining organizations based in Marbel, South Cotabato and Davao City, which instigated them to filed murder charges against the soldiers involved in the operation.

The planned $5.9-billion mine project is run by Swiss mining giant Xstrata and Australia’s Indophil Resources NL.

The mine would be the country’s biggest source of foreign investment if it begins operations in 2016 as scheduled, although influential local church figures, tribal groups and environmental activists fiercely oppose it. (ASA)



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