Military shouldn't be part of Rebelyn probe team

Teodoro said he also wants to know who really is behind the killing of Rebelyn, a crime he described as “very disgusting.”

“I’m also mad over this incident. The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) should not be part of the investigation body because who will believe us since everyone is pointing at us? Whether we like it or not, the military is being blamed,” he told reporters at the headquarters of the Eastern Mindanao Command here.

Teodoro stressed that if the suspects would come from the ranks of military, the punishment should be doubled because the reputation of the AFP is at stake.

Rebelyn’s mother, Evangeline; her father, Leoncio Pitao alias Parago and militant organizations have blamed the military for allegedly being behind the abduction-slay.

Teodoro said, the P500,000 reward the city government has offered for information leading to the capture of  Rebelyn’s killers, is no longer needed. Instead, the defense chief urged the investigating body to be more aggressive.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) had earlier formed a special task force composed of elements from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Intelligence Group, the Regional Intelligence Group and the local police. The latter was also instructed to provide security to Pitao’s family.

In a clandestine interview with journalists in his guerilla base, Pitao tagged Sgt. Ben Tipait, Sgt. Adan Masulao, Sgt. Hervin Bitang and a Cpl. Pedring Pedregosa as the ones behind the abduction, rape and murder of his daughter.

The Army’s 10th Infantry Division has confirmed that two of the four names mentioned by Pitao are, indeed, with the military, adding that two are being confined to the barracks while investigations are pending.=

“The military organization is very concerned about this,” said Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, 10ID spokesperson. He said they are very affected over the civilians’ perception on the military with this case. “We are not looking into this incident as soldiers but as fathers, too,” he added, assuring the public that they will “fully cooperate” in the investigation.

Cabangbang also stressed there would be “no whitewash or cover-up” in the investigation, “even if the suspects are from the military.”

He added that the military will give the Philippine National Police a free hand in the investigation.

“We also welcome an independent body to conduct its own investigation to help bring justice for Rebelyn. This inciden
t is already beyond the fighting between the AFP and the NPA; this is already an attack against humanity,” Cabangbang said. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)