By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division assured its full cooperation amidst the alleged involvement of two soldiers in a grenade-throwing incident in Dingle, Iloilo on October 3.
“We don’t tolerate any wrongdoing of our personnel. In this case, the court has yet to prove if the accusations hurled against them are true,” Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, 3ID spokesperson said.
Javines said that the Philippine Army is a professional organization that embodies the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
If indeed their personnel have acted otherwise, Javines said they would have no second thoughts in separating them from the organization.
The glass window of the Dingle Municipal Library was shattered while the back rear tire of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Dingle Substation’s firetruck was damaged after a grenade exploded shortly after midnight on Tuesday.
Captain Aileen Lacrite, Dingle police chief, said the explosion site was around 50 meters from the police station.
Recovered from the crime scene were a hand grenade safety pull lock ring, a safety lever, and several parts of the M-26 Fragmentation grenade.
At the onset of the investigation, Lacrite has already hinted that they already have persons of interest behind the incident.
She later admitted that the two persons of interest are members of the Philippine Army.
One of them holds the rank of a Private First Class (PFC) while the other is a Staff Sergeant.
The 25-year-old PFC from Negros Occidental and the 41-year-old Staff Sergeant are assigned to the 6th Forward Service Support Unit (FSSU) based in Camp Hernandez, Dingle.
Lacrite said they have closed circuit television (CCTV) footages and testimony of witnesses attesting that the two soldiers were riding a Honda XR150 motorcycle.
It was driven by the PFC with the Staff Sergeant as his backrider.
Lacrite said she could not go into details but it appeared that the incident stemmed from the local police’s aggressive campaign on traffic laws and ordinances.
She also noted that the suspects appeared to have no intention to harm but to just threaten or send a strong warning.
Lacrite has confirmed that Lieutenant Colonel Rowell Maala, 6th FSSU commander, has appeared at the police station and assured them that they would cooperate with the police investigation.
Maala also confirmed that they have custody of their two personnel.
Meanwhile, Lacrite said they could not ascertain when they would be filing the case, as they are still gathering documents.
The local government of Dingle will serve as the complainant.
But reports have it that the soldiers denied their involvement in the incident.
They alleged that they were the ones who even reported that a “transformer exploded.”
One of them was also in uniform at that time.
“If you have plans of lobbing a grenade, why do it in uniform and pass by the area where you could be caught on CCTV cameras?” the source said.
It was also not clear why they were in the town proper at around that time.