Philippine Army Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo resigned from his post as commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion weeks after his men killed the wife and two children of a supposed bandit leader in a firefight in the outskirts of Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur.
Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said Sunday that Bravo offered to relinquish his post so as not to influence the ongoing legal actions against his men who were involved in the incident.
Bernardo said that Bravo would be replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial in a ceremony Sunday.
“He [Bravo] took it upon himself to give way. Anyway, he had been a battalion commander for one year and six months already,” Bernardo said in a phone interview.
He added that Bravo’s resignation was unusual in the military establishment. Be that as it may, “it’s being a true commander, an officer and a gentleman. It’s like taking responsibility for what they [his men] did.”
Also, 10thID spokesman, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said Bravo resigned from his post in view of the clamor by some sectors for his relief. He said the division is still looking for an assignment that would be given to Bravo.
Bravo and his men were earlier investigated by a Board of Inquiry for possible lapses in the conduct of the October 18 operation that killed the wife and children of alleged bandit leader Daquil Capeon. His sons were aged 13 and eight.
The board later cleared Bravo of any responsibility and said the firefight was a “legitimate encounter.”
But it also recommended that company commander, 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, and 12 enlisted personnel who took part in the operation, should be tried by court martial.
Specifically, the board want the 13 soldiers tried for violation of the Articles of War 76 (misbehavior before the enemy); 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman) and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline).
Military officials had earlier said that the soldiers were approaching a hut, supposedly serving as the lair of the bandit leader, in the vicinity of Sitio Alion in Barangay Kimlawis in Kiblawan last October 18, when they were fired upon by at least five suspects.
The soldiers returned fire, killing Capeon’s wife and children. His daughter was also wounded but she managed to escape. — DVM, GMA News