3 soldiers tagged in rape of Manobo girl
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Southern Mindanao police confirmed that three soldiers have been accused of raping a 14-year-old Manobo girl Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
Senior Supt. Aaron Aquino, deputy chief for regional police operations, told reporters here Wednesday that a rape complaint has been filed and that three suspects – all members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – have been identified.
Earlier, human rights groups such as Karapatan said the rape of the girl was among the complaints against soldiers who were involved in clearing lumad communities of communist insurgents that triggered the massive displacement of indigenous people in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon.
At least 700 Manobo lumad, the girl and her family included, sought refuge at the Haran House operated by the United Church of Christ of the Philippines here early this year.
While he did not provide specifics such as the date the rape happened, Aquino said that the parents of the victim filed a rape complaint against one suspect, whom he did not identify, on August 24, but refused to sue two other suspects whom the police identified only as Galot and Daniel.
Instead of suing the two military men, he said the girl’s parents entered into a settlement with them.
“It came out that the two suspects alias ‘Galot’ and ‘Daniel’ were soldiers. However, (charges) were not filed against the two suspects because of the agreement made by the two parties,” he said. The suspects paid the parents P63,000 as part of the agreement, Aquino said.
Aquino said despite the settlement, the police would pursue charges against the two remaining suspects.
“The police will serve as the complainant…documents are now being prepared for the filing of charges against alias Galot and alias Daniel,” he said.
Col. Ricardo Nepomuceno, commander of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade – which has jurisdiction over Davao del Norte – said the military would cooperate with the police’s investigation.
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