Año orders investigation of human rights complaint vs. military in Marawi City

Jasper Acosta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2017 09:25 PM

MAGUINDANAO - Armed Forces Chief of Staff and martial law administrator General Eduardo Año on Friday ordered the military to investigate a human rights complaint against soldiers in Marawi City.

The complaint, lodged by a civilian who was arrested on Sunday, came as Mindanao remained under martial law amid continuing clashes between government troops and Islamic State-linked terror groups in the city. 

The civilian, who was allegedly suffering from depression, was left in the city when his family evacuated at the height of the siege. Soldiers took him into custody on June 4.

In his account, the victim said he was blindfolded and transferred from one place to another. He said hot water was poured on his hands and was repeatedly asked about his identity.

The family of the victim said it was through the effort of a friend, who attested that the man was suffering from depression, that he was released.

Photos of a soldier treating the victim's bruises are circulating in social media. The victim is still confined at a hospital in Iligan City.

Año said the military would investigate the incident and will impose sanctions, discipline, and punishment if proven that any soldier violated human rights.

The military chief stressed that the military would not allow any kind of abuse under the implementation of martial law.

Police Senior Inspector Marcille Manzano, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-ARMM), said all government troops were adhering to the law and guidelines of the national headquarters in the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

The PNP-ARMM has yet to receive any report of human rights violations in Marawi City.

Clashes between government troops and the terrorist Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups erupted on May 23, as state forces attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, known to be the anointed ISIS leader in Southeast Asia. 

At least 209 have died while more than 200,000 have been displaced by the firefights. 

The military on Friday vowed to end the crisis on Monday, as the nation commemorates Independence Day.