The commander of an Army battalion in Central Mindanao has resigned from his post following the incident that killed a tribal leader’s wife and two sons, military officials said.

Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo’s resignation as commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion takes effect Monday, when a new commander will take over, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said.

“He (Bravo) resigned out of ‘delicadeza’ and to give way to the ongoing investigation on the incident. Tinanggap naman ng higher headquarters ‘yung decision niya,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division which supervises the 1002nd Brigade and effectively, the 27th IB, confirmed Bravo’s resignation.

Bravo will be replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial, Paniza said in a text message.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th ID, will preside over the turnover ceremony at the 27th IB headquarters in South Cotabato and hold a media conference later at the Task Force Gensan headquarters in General Santos City.

Bernardo will discuss, among others, the results of an inquiry over the Oct. 18 incident that killed armed tribal group leader Daguil Capion’s wife Juvy, 31, and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Rodriguez said.

Thirteen members of the 27th IB were recommended by the 10th ID’s board of inquiry to face court martial proceedings over the incident.

The soldiers, led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, were checking the reported presence of armed men in Brgy. Kimlawis but were fired upon so they retaliated, according to the military.

Jimenez admitted failing to assess who they were facing and found out later that they clashed with the group of Capion, whose family members were in the area, Paniza said in a recent interview.

The board of inquiry had requested the Army headquarters to convene a general court martial for Jimenez, Sgt. Dennis Murillo, Sgt. Rommel Ballenes, Cpl. Robert Godio, Cpl. Ayiha Namla, Cpl. Brucekhan Sahali, Cpl. Bashir Said, Cpl. Julah Majid, Cpl. Jemson Jadjuli, Pfc. Marlowe Gayamot, Pfc. Joel Lopez, Pfc. Darryl Tayamora, and Pfc. Richard Julian.

The soldiers will be tried for violations of Articles of War 76 (Misbehavior before the Enemy), 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman), and 97 (Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline), according to Paniza.

The incident happened at the gold and copper-rich boundaries of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur; Tampakan, South Cotabato; and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, where foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. has an “exploration area.”

Capion, a member of the B’laan tribe, is described by anti-mining groups as a “tribal warrior” opposing Sagittarius Mines’ plan to dig a mine in the area.

The military and police, on the other hand, labeled Capion a “bandit” for his alleged involvement in several incidents, including the burning of mining equipment and ambush on security forces in the area. (John Roson)

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