DND Still Not Sure on Al Barka, Basilan Massacre Case

Philippines: News

Cases against 4 senior Army officers facing a military court trial for charges related to the ambush-slaying of 19 soldiers by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Al-Barka, Basilan on October 18, 2011 are still pending according to the Department of National Defense (DND).

DND spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez expressed in an interview on Tuesday that he is not sure because he does not have the details yet, but they will consult on the closure of the matter. “But everybody wants a closure to these cases and we move forward,” said Galvez.

The said response by Galvez was in response to the questions of media men regarding the present status of the said case against 4 senior Army officers, as well as other high-profile cases which were brought about by the hostilities of MILF in Mindanao, most especially now that the government agreed with the Moro rebels through signing of the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”

Such peace treaty not only sets the final agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF, but it also lays the grounds for setting up of the new political entity called Bangsamoro, which is set to replace the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The 4 officers facing the said charges are 4th Special Forces Battalion commander Lt. Col. Leonardo Pena, Former Special Forces Regimental Commander Col. Amikandra Undog, ex-Basila island Military commander Col. Alexander Macario, and former Special Forces training school commander Lt. Col. Orlando Edralin. Such officers allegedly violated Article of War 97, otherwise known as conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline in connection with Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code providing for criminal negligence.

Both the defense and prosecution have finished presenting their respective pieces of evidence, in connection with the investigation conducted by the military as ordered by President Noynoy Aquino last year.

The oral arguments for such case of the 4 officers have been set by the military court on Thursday, October 18, exactly 1 year after the said ambush slaying.

The 4 accused officers submitted themselves and emphasized their appeal for a speedy trial of their case, due to their argument that the Al Barka carnage was a legitimate military operation.

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