3 soldiers file injury, robbery raps vs human rights worker
DAVAO CITY—Three government soldiers filed severe physical injury and robbery complaints against a human rights worker after she allegedly beat them up and robbed them during the funeral march of two slain “lumad” leaders in Lianga, Surigao del Sur province.
Capt. Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the military’s 4th Infantry Division, said Karapatan Caraga secretary general Eliza Pangilinan led the group that reportedly mobbed the soldiers at the funeral of Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo on Sept. 13.
“The three soldiers namely Sgt. Lomer Ramoso, Pfc. Gregorio Cabason and Pvt. Reymund Siluterio, who are members of the 41st Civil-Military Operations Company, had just had their lunch at a seafood restaurant in Lianga when one member of Karapatan shouted ‘The Magahat members are here,’ as these soldiers were mistakenly identified as members of the Bagani group who killed the three persons in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, on Sept. 1,” Martinez said.
The soldiers filed the complaints at the provincial prosecutor’s office in Tandag City last Friday, Martinez said.
Martinez said the group immediately ran toward the soldiers and beat them up.
“Other members started grabbing their personal belongings such as cell phones, wallets, watches and necklaces. The PNP (Philippine National Police) from the Lianga Municipal Station rescued the three soldiers and temporarily brought them to the police station for their safety,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the soldiers were brought to the hospital after suffering multiple abrasions and contusions in the body.
Lt. Col. Rey Pasco, commanding officer of 4th Civil-Military Operations Battalion, said they understood the pain of the people right now but asserted that no one should resort to violence.
“Our soldiers understand that these people are grieving because of the loss of their loved ones. But their pain does not give them the right to hurt and rob any person. Their leader should not let this violence happen. As a protector of human rights, she should have pacified the whole situation. Our soldiers did the right thing when they restrained themselves to avoid further escalation of the situation,” Pasco said.
Pangilinan, who stands 1.54 meters (5 feet) and an inch tall and weighs 55 kilograms, said it was physically impossible for her to maul three soldiers most especially that one of them was carrying a firearm.
Pangilinan explained that what happened was a “citizen’s arrest” after the soldiers were seen “taking pictures and monitoring” the funeral program.
“We took nothing from them,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan added that it was her who personally facilitated the turnover of the soldiers to the Lianga police station.
Some 2,970 internally displaced residents from the towns of Lianga, Marihatag, San Agustin, San Miguel and Tago are staying at a sports complex in Tandag City following a violent rampage by paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani and the ongoing military operations in the area.
Majority of the displaced lumad came from Barangay Diatagon after the Magahat-Bagani killed Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, and lumad leaders Campos and Sinzo. Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao
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