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AFP probes Marine sergeant for slur on Zamboanga City women

/ 12:08 PM March 31, 2016

ZAMBOANGA CITY — A Marine sergeant — a key member of the country’s Dragon Boat team that won the gold in the 2014 World Cup in China — is now under investigation for allegedly using such derogatory words on Zamboanga women as “prostitute,” “flirt,” and “social climber,” which appeared on a Facebook account bearing his name and photos.

Sergeant Nelson dela Noche had since apologized for the posts and claimed his account had been hacked. Dela Noche’s account had since been deactivated.

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But the Philippine Navy said it has started investigating the posts and that Dela Noche, a native of Bago City and currently in Australia for the Dragon Boat Australian Cup being held there until April 7, would be summoned to air his side.

“The Philippine Navy assures the public that we do not condone such statement that degrades our fellow people hence the immediate conduct of investigation as per directive coming from Philippine Navy leadership, to ascertain the culpability of Sgt. dela Noche,” Capt. Lued Lincuna, director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said.

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The Philippine Daily Inquirer learned that a Marine officer has been designated as lead investigator of the case.

Chavacanos and netizens took turns in lambasting Dela Noche for reportedly expressing a derogatory view of women here on his Facebook on March 25.

Some said his rant might have been fueled by bitterness, such as the possibility of having been rejected by a local woman.

The post was preceded by initially, friendly exchange of words with a local woman. As the thread progressed, the exchange of words heated up and Dela Noche ended it with: “Yes it is funny.  Halos lahat ng babae sa Zamboanga malandi, pokpok at social climber. Parang ganito lang yan, nasa gitna ng dalawang hita nyo ang utak nyo.” (Yes, it is funny. Almost all women in Zamboanga are flirts, sluts and social climbers. It’s like this, your brains can be found between your legs.)

Dela Noche eventually posted an apology on Tuesday and a disclaimer by saying his account had been hacked. The account was deactivated after that.

But Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar didn’t think the apology was enough.

Chareety Galvez, the local woman whom Dela Noche had exchanges with, said she did not believe that she was talking on Facebook with another guy.

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Galvez told the INQUIRER that the account belonged to dela Noche, whom she befriended on Facebook, and that they had been exchanging posts for quite some time already.

She said the Marine sergeant was a colleague of her boyfriend and their initial exchanges on Facebook were friendly.

“He was so nice, respectful and thoughtful. Suddenly, he went ballistic,” Galvez said.

When the posts were shared between Chavacanos and netizens, furor was all over town.

In her letters to Armed Forces Chief Hernando Iriberri and the Marine Corps commandant, Maj. Gen. Remegio Valdez, Salazar said it was unbelievable that a personnel of an organization looked up to by the people as protector would make such derogatory statements.

“As the principal author of the Magna Carta for Women during my stint at the House of Representatives, it is our desire to uplift the conditions of women by not subjecting them to verbal, physical, emotional and any form of abuse,” Salazar said.

“May I then seek that under your leadership, an investigation be conducted to clarify this issue. As a Zamboangueña, I feel that there should be prudence in using social networking sites especially if we are part of an organization that should highlight integrity and honor. It is my hope that this merits your most favorable response,” Salazar added.

Former Armed Force public affairs chief, Col. Harold Cabunoc, who is also in Australia for schooling, has said Dela Noche’s account might have indeed been hacked as the embattled Marine personnel had claimed.

Salazar said this would be determined by an “IT investigation,” which she also wanted to be conducted. SFM

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TAGS: AFP, AFP Chief Hernando Iriberri, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Capt. Lued Lincuna, Chareety Galvez, Colonel Harold Cabunoc, complaint against soldiers, derogatory statements against women, disciplinary action, Dragon Boat Team, ethics, Facebook, Harold Cabunoc, Hernando Iriberri, Internet, investigation, Local authorities, Local Governments, Lued Lincuna, Major General Remegio Valdez, Maria Isabelle Salazar, Marine Corps commandant, mayor, misconduct, Naval Public Affairs Office, Nelson dela Noche, News, Philippine Marines, Philippine Navy, Regions, Remigio Valdez, Sergeant Nelson dela Noche, soldier's misconduct, Zamboanga City
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