Molestation, harassment raps filed vs 66th IB officer

Mar. 11, 2008

A nineteen-year old girl filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) XI office on February 26 this year, against a Philippine Army officer, who allegedly molested her inside a military detachment camp in their village.

The girl, a resident of Baracatan, Toril district, identified the military officer as Lt. Ferdinand Fernandez of the 66th Infantry Battalion.

In her complaint, the victim said that Fernandez allegedly made indecent sexual advances to her inside a makeshift hut that served as sleeping quarters of Cafgu (Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographic Unit) inside the military detachment.

The detachment was manned by the Philippine Army’s 66th and 72nd Infantry Battalion, located in Purok 2, Baracatan, Toril.

The victim’s father, Egmedio Alonsagay, alleged that Fernandez also physically assaulted him during the interrogation when he denied accusations of Fernandez that he was a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Her father, along with two neighbors, also filed complaints against the 66th and 72nd IB for alleged abuses and harassment.

Joel Rovilla, 44, a resident of Baracatan, complained of being mauled by a soldier who chanced upon them while they were fleeing their homes after hearing an exchange of gunfire.

Eliseo Bandoy, 48, alleged that he was called to the military detachment and subjected to questioning. The military, he said, showed him pictures of NPA rebels who recently “harassed” them, but to Bandoy’s surprise, he saw his face on the pictures.

Bandoy went to the CHR in the hope that he would be protected. He said he was worried for his life because the military had threatened to get him if they will be attacked again by the NPA.

“We will get you if something happens to our troops. Just remember, we have your picture,” he said the military told him.

The elder Alonsagay narrated that the soldiers and Cafgu members went to their house early morning of February 20, a day after an encounter with a band of NPA rebels, which resulted to the death of one military technical sergeant.

Alonsagay said he was made to go into the room first where Fernandez later interrogated him. His daughter was called in next to him.

Fernandez questioned Alonsagay about his vegetable farm. Fernandez said the vegetable garden was financed by the NPA.

Fernandez allegedly punched him three times in the abdomen when he denied the accusations. “Get out or I could kill you,” he said Fernandez told him, driving him out.

Afterwards, Fernandez called out for the daughter. The girl said she knocked and found out that Fernandez was alone. She said the door was locked behind her when she entered. She was made to sit on a bed while Fernandez sat with his back against the headboard.

“He looked at me and asked me if I knew that the vegetable garden my father tended belonged to the NPA. It was not true, I said, because I knew that it was financed by a store owner in Bankerohan,” she said.

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