Solons to probe AFP’s alleged human rights abuses on Lumads

President Benigno S. Aquino III administers the oath of office to newly-appointed generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the oath-taking of military officers at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (May 27). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III administers the oath of office to newly-appointed generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the oath-taking of military officers at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (May 27). (MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept 8 (Mabuhay) – Lawmakers on Tuesday moved to probe allegations of human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan quizzed military officials about the purported involvement of soldiers in the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Davao del Norte.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon asked that the probe be conducted jointly by the concerned House of Representatives’ committees, including the Committee on National Defense, which he chairs.

Biazon, a former AFP chief of staff, said the human rights allegation against the military should be tackled at a different venue, separate from the ongoing budget briefing of the House appropriations committee.

“The charges being aired against the AFP are so serious to the point that it touches on the issue of criminal acts allegedly being committed by its members, which can’t be accepted. I move that this be referred for further resolution by the appropriate committees,” Biazon said.

Earlier in the hearing, Ilagan grilled Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año about the alleged involvement of soldiers in the recent reported rape of a teenage girl. The girl, she said, is a Lumad.

The girl was reportedly one of the indigenous peoples (IPs) who temporarily sought shelter at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound in Davao City following reports of military abuses being committed in their communities.

Citing news reports, Ilagan said the police had confirmed that the suspects in the alleged rape, only known by aliases “Galot” and “Daniel” were soldiers.

They also reportedly settled the case with the victim’s family for P63,000.

In response, Año said that the two suspects were identified as belonging to the 68th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

But despite Ilagan’s repeated questioning, he did not give any more details on the incident, saying the police is now investigating the matter.

“Rest assured that the military will cooperate with the police’s ongoing investigation,” Año said.(MNS)

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