The Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command has ordered the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division to probe soldiers implicated in the fatal shooting of two civilians who were allegedly mistaken for communist rebels in Compostela Valley over the weekend.
In a statement released Thursday, Captain Alberto Caber, EastMinCom's public information office chief, identified the victims as Lando Sabado Dangasan, 40 years old, and son Felix, 16 years old.
Caber said the soldiers of the 66th Infantry Battalion were patrolling along barangays Andap and Manurigao in New Bataan town when the two victims were shot.
While he did not elaborate further on the incident, Caber, quoting 66th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Michael G. Logico, said they have already extended intial assistance to the Dangasan family, and will cooperate in the investigation on the incident.
Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, EastMinCom's chief, said the Philippine National Police will conduct a joint investigation on the incident.
"We enlisted the support of the PNP in the conduct of investigation to ensure transparency and credibility of the result of the investigation," Baladad said.
An earlier report quoted Logico as saying that the soldiers mistook the two victims for New People's Army rebels, saying the area was dark and the two shone a flashlight at the soldiers and cried, "Sundalo! Sundalo!" and startled the soldiers.
"Yung lead element natin, nabulag sa along the trail nang biglang silang flinashlight, dalawang flashlight, sabay nakarinig siya ng sigaw na sundalo-sunalo. So upon his immediate instinctive reaction, akala niya mga kalaban, nag-open fire siya doon sa general direction," Logico said.
The two soldiers were not immediately named. They have been since restricted to barracks.
Meanwhile, Balalad reminded all military commanders under his command on the "strict compliance to the Rules of Engagement (ROE), and Rule of Law (ROL), protection of human rights, and adherence to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in the conduct of combat and non-combat operations in line with Internal Peace Security Plan Bayanihan."