MANILA, Philippines – Three soldiers are set to face separate charges before a general court martial for dishonoring the military after being linked to the alleged rape of a Lumad minor in Davao.
The charges were recommended by the Army inquiry board following a motu propio internal investigation into the supposed rape of the 14-year-old Manobo girl.
“The immediate release of the findings of our Board of Inquiry is a manifestation that we are serious in addressing the human rights issues and other cases against our personnel,” said Lieutenant General Eduardo M. Año, the Army Commanding General, on Sunday, September 13.
Administrative sanctions for failing to prompty probe the matter were also recommended against the company commander of the soldiers.
“Our Army troops must and will always abide with the highest standards of human rights, IHL and the rule of law,” Año added.
The Army announced the inquiry board's probe results into the alleged rape of the Lumad minor on the same day it announced the board's probe results in the death of 3 civilians, which it said was caused by tribal war.
The 3 soldiers, who remain unnamed in the Army's press release, will be charged for violation of the Article of War 97 or conduct of a nature that brings discredit upon the military service.
All 3 have denied the rape but the case specifics were enough for the charges recommended before a court-martial, which tries members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for offenses related to their duty performance.
The inquiry board based its investigation on information from Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of Talaingod, Davao del Norte and the affidavits of "concerned personnel."
“Even in the absence of a complainant, the Army has the obligation to ensure that our soldiers act accordingly and decisively as required by existing AFP laws, regulations, directives or policies,” said Major General Rafael C. Valencia. – Rappler.com