Three Army reservists based at the Athletic Bowl here allegedly mauled four students, including the son of the mayor of Sagada, Mountain Province, on Jan. 26 at the Melvin Jones ground here.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Posted by Bulatlat
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Vol. VIII, No. 1, February 3-9, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Three Army reservists based at the Athletic Bowl here allegedly mauled four students, including the son of the mayor of Sagada, Mountain Province, on Jan. 26 at the Melvin Jones ground here.
One of the four youths whose forehead was hit with a gun by one of the reservists filed a complaint of physical injury against the Army.
Based on the blotter of a police station here, the four youths identified as Eduardo Latawan III, Cyrus Domling, William Angawa, and Cecilio Cowet had a heated confrontation at 10:20 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 26) with three members of the Philippine Army reservist corps.
At the height of the confrontation, the three reservists headed by Sgt. Edwin B. Villanueva, 40, ordered the four youths to lie on the ground and allegedly mauled them.
Latawan noticed that one of the respondents used the butt of his long firearm in hitting Cowet’s head.
Armed with a medical certificate, Cowet and his companions went Sunday morning to the police station based at the Picnic Groves near Melvin Jones where he filed a complaint of physical injury against Villanueva and his two companions.
Before police were able to bring the three reservists to the city jail, Fiscal Brian Sagsago ordered the release of the reservist from police custody after they promised to appear if called.
Nordis learned that Sagsago issued a subpoena on Jan. 28 for Villanueva and company to file a counter-affidavit within five days from the day they receive the subpoena.
The reservists justified their moves against the four youth, saying they were unruly and rowdy. In an interview with local TV here, Villanueva claimed that their attention was called by the personnel of Saint Louis University then celebrating its 97th foundation day, at the Melvin Jones Football Field.
In another interview, another reservist said they will file their counter-affidavit as soon as Villanueva arrives from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.
A source, who requested not to be identified, said in an interview that the reservists are enjoying the support by the SLU administration.
Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr. said that the reservists acted excessively when they mauled and in fact hit one of the youth who are all from Sagada, Mountain Province.
“Assuming that the younger Latawan’s group had committed excesses, the reservists should not have solved it with physical harm,” he said in an interview. “Let due process of law take its course.”
Other Sagada residents, in separate interviews, condemn the act as brutalities inflicted against civilians as they claim the act shows lack of respect for human rights by these Army reservists even if they are in the urban center. They are questioning the reservists’ “interference” in a purely peace-and-order matter.
At the time of the incident, two of the reservists were armed with M-16 rifles while Villanueva was in civilian clothes but also armed. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)