Army not delaying court-martial of 13 soldiers

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY — A military official here said that there was no intention to delay the court-martial proceedings of 13 soldiers accused of the death of B’laan tribal leader Daguil Capion’s wife and two sons on October 18 in remote Kimlawis village in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said that what they would like to happen is that they want the higher headquarters of the Philippine Army to compose the military tribunal and not the 10th ID itself to dispel suspicions of a whitewash.

“As of now our request is still pending there but we expect for the answer soonest possible time to start the court-martial,” Paniza said.

He said the 10th ID has direct supervision over the 27th Infantry Battalion, the unit to which the accused soldiers—Lt. Dante Jimenez, Sergeants Dennis Murillo and Rommel Ballenas; Corporals Robert Godio, Ayiha Namla, Brucekhan Sahali, Bashir Said, Julah Majid and Jemson Jadjuli; and Privates 1st Class Marlowe Gayamot, Joel Lopez, Darryl Tayamora and Richard Julian—belong.

“We would like the truth to come out, so we requested the higher headquarters to create the court-martial and hear their case to avoid (perceptions of) bias,” he said.

He said the venue of the trial is still at the 10th ID headquarters in Camp Manuel Yan in Mawab town in Compostela Valley.

“Once the jury is already constituted we expect it to be as speedy as other trials,” Paniza said, adding all accused are also entitled to have legal counsels of their own for fair trial.

Last week, the Board of Inquiry formed by the 10th ID said it found probable cause to charge the soldiers with violations of the Articles of War in a court-martial for the deaths of Juvy Capion and her sons, Pop, 13 and John, 8, during a military operation.

While maintaining that the deaths of Capion’s wife and sons stemmed from a legitimate encounter, the BOI said Jimenez and his men committed tactical lapses.

While 27th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo was not included on the list of those to be charged, Paniza said Bravo has resigned his post “to allow other third-party groups to investigate freely and to prove that there is no cover-up in the search for truth in this incident.”

He said Bravo’s resignation took effect immediately and he was replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial.

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

 

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