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20 soldiers under probe in Cotabato for mutilating rebel's corpse

Twenty soldiers in North Cotabato are under investigation for allegedly mutilating the body of a communist rebel who was killed in a clash with government troops last week, a military official said Tuesday.

"All of them are under investigation," said Capt. Rhyan Batchar of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, referring to the 20 soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion involved in the encounter in Magpet town last Friday.

The soldiers are currently restricted at the headquarters of the 39th IB in Makilala town pending the result of the investigation being conducted by a Board of Inquiry organized by the 10th ID.

The 20 are being blamed for the mutilation of the body of Noel Gulmatico alias Jepoy, allegedly the commanding officer of the Sandatahang Unit Propaganda of the Guerilla Front 8 of the New People's Army.

A photo posted on social media showed Gulmatico's body with his eyes gouged out, his tongue cut and his throat slit.

"If true, these actions are unacceptable and deserve the highest condemnation," Batchar said. "As a professional organization, we do not tolerate any violations of human rights   and the International Humanitarian Law." 

Batchar said the investigation also seeks to determine if Gulmatico's body was already mutilated when recovered by the soldiers.

Also killed along with Gulmatico was Rino Vinson, another alleged NPA member. Their bodies have already been claimed by their families. —KBK, GMA News