Army commander quits post over ‘tactical lapse’ of 13 men

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – The commander of the Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion quit from his post after 13 of his men were allegedly found to be guilty of “tactical lapse” over the death of the wife and two sons of a B’laan tribal leader in Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said that Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo has resigned “to allow other third party groups to investigate the incident freely and to prove that there is no cover-up in the search for truth in this incident.”

Paniza said Bravo’s resignation takes effect Monday and he will be replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial.

“(Bravo’s) action is laudable and an example of a true gentleman and courageous leader who is willing to accept the consequence of his action and of his subordinates,” Paniza said.

He said Bravo is already one year and six months as the 27th IB commander and there is still no assignment yet for him.

The resignation comes after a military inquiry found that the 13 soldiers under Bravo, led by 1st Lt. Dante Jimenez, committed tactical lapse in the military operation on October 18 that killed the wife and two sons of tribal leader Daguil Capion.

Killed were Capion’s 27-year-old wife Juvy and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8.

The soldiers said they were fired upon as they neared a hut of the Capion family in an isolated part of Kiblawan town, prompting them to fire back.

But they were found negligent when they engaged in a shootout with the tribal leader because they did not try to avoid civilian casualties.

Jimenez had been temporarily relieved from his post pending the results of the investigation.The 13 soldiers could face life in jail if found guilty.

Specifically, the board want the 13 soldiers tried for violation of the Articles of War 76 (misbehavior before the enemy); 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman) and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline).

This came even as Bishop Guillermo Afable of the Diocese of Digos commended military officials for initiating the investigation by the Board of Inquiry on 13 soldiers in connection with the death of the wife and two sons of a B’laan tribal leader in Kiblawan town, this province, last month.

“I commend the Army’s 10th ID (Infantry Division) for the reported outcome of the investigation,” Afable said.

He said “truth and restorative justice do prevail in our Armed Forces of the Philippines. You make us proud. There is hope for matuwid na daan.” (ASA)



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