Source: (philstar.com) Updated March 27, 2011 05:56 PM Comments (0) View comments
Col. Domingo Tutaan, Human Rights Office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the Army is now conducting two parallel investigations to ensure that no whitewash occur in the probe of the incident which was recently exposed through the video-sharing site Youtube.com.
Officials earlier announced that the incident was being looked into by the Army headquarters. The video showed the trainees grimacing in pain while being hit with ropes and sticks.
The military said the video was posted on the internet by the New People's Army (NPA) after the rebels seized the phone -- where the video was stored -- from a soldier they killed. The slain soldier was among the then trainees tortured.
Tutaan said the first investigation is being conducted by the Army's Provost Marshal. The second investigation, he said, is being pursued by the Army's 9th Infantry Division in collaboration with the Army's Human Rights Office.
The Army had earlier investigated the incident and relieved the soldier-trainers involved from their training duties. Also, the Army terminated the training module called Escape and Evasion as part of the enlistment course.
Tutaan said the Army Provost Marshal investigation will determine, among others, if the earlier punishment imposed on the soldier-trainers were already sufficient. The official said Provost Marshal probe is still underway.
On the other hand, Tutaan said the joint 9th Infantry Division and Army Human Rights Office investigation is aimed at determining the identities of all those involved in the torture of the trainees and "determine command responsibility."
Tutaan said the Army pursued two "extensive" investigations to erase possible doubts of whitewash. "That is a reason why the Army has two investigating bodies," he said.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside for more than four decades. The Philippine military estimates that there are some 4,700 NPA guerrilla fighters scattered in more than 60 provinces throughout the Southeast Asian country.