Ex-prisoner of war dismissed from service

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AN ARMY soldier, who was released two weeks ago after being held captive by the New People's Army (NPA) in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, was formally dismissed from military service effective May 23, a official said Tuesday.

Corporal Rogelio Rosales of the Bravo Company under the 60th Infantry Battalion was dismissed by 60IB commander Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Bunagan for allegedly using methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu.

Speaking at the press conference at the 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) Bayanihan Center on Tuesday, 10th ID chief Major General Ariel B. Bernardo said although the urine and blood tests conducted on Rosales by the personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory-Davao showed negative result, he was still recommended for dismissal. [Read the related article.]


"Rosales underwent a process of investigation. Lieutenant Colonel Bunagan recommended the dismissal after the investigation. I received and signed the recommendation on May 24. But Rosales was already dismissed May 23," Bernardo said.

During investigation, Rosales admitted to have been using illegal drugs -- enough reason for him to be discharged from service.

"Anyone who is involved in illegal drugs will be automatically dismissed from the service," Bernardo said.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a strict policy, especially when it comes to this issue. Whoever commits a crime or anyone who gets involved in illegal drugs will be automatically dismissed from his service. This is the first case na may umamin na gumagamit siya ng pinagbabawal na gamot," Bernardo added.

Bunagan earlier said the drug test result was irrelevant, and in fact, Rosales can still be held liable for administrative punishment.

He added that Rosales had committed a serious offense.

Bunagan also said that Rosales was found guilty for violating Articles of War 97, committing an act prejudicial to good orders and military discipline and discredit the entire organization.

Bernardo said Rosales could still appeal his case to the Army's higher headquarters. He added that the dismissed soldier can return to the service if the recommendation will be reversed.

The 10th ID commander also assured that Rosales will undergo random drug testing in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Davao Region. He said the division has already allocated funds for drug testing.

"The AFP had imposed a strict policy on mandatory random drug testing among soldiers to determine whether there are soldiers who are into illegal drug use. This is simply to discourage them from using it," Bernardo said.

NPA's Northern Davao South Agusan Sub regional command spokesperson Aris Francisco earlier said that Rosales was in the process of arranging the transport of logs when seized by the NPA guerrillas in Kapalong last May 16.

Francisco said a sachet of suspected shabu was also found in his possession, proof that soldiers who are coddling big loggers in the province were also into the illegal drug trade.

Rosales, however, denied his involvement in illegal logging. (With reports from UIC intern Martin Jee M. Capuno)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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