DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said if government forces are found guilty of looting residents in Marawi City, homeowners should receive reparations.
“Kung talagang ginawa naman ng sundalo at hindi natin ma-pinpoint we have to make some reparations to the owners of the houses (If it is really the handiwork of soldiers and we could not pinpoint who did it, we have to make reparations to the owners of the houses),” he told reporters in an interview Tuesday night, October 31 at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport. Lorenzana arrived here with President Rodrigo Duterte and other cabinet officials from a two-day official trip to Japan.
Lorenzana’s statement came after six soldiers were placed “under investigation” for allegedly looting houses of residents during the first few weeks of the siege.
In a television interview on the same day, Joint Task Group Ranao deputy commander, Col. Romeo Brawner said an army official and five military personnel are being investigated and are facing administrative charges for allegedly looting in some houses inside the war-torn area where residents flee on May 23.
He said the commander of the soldiers ordered the troopers to return the items to the residences.
The defense chief admitted they did not believe the reports of some residents who accused soldiers of ransacking their houses as fighting then were still ongoing.
He said soldiers also reported to him that when they arrived in some houses, it was already ransacked.
“Pero sinabi ko naman sa mga nag-aaccuse na, ‘we will look into this,’ ito na nga (But I told the accusers that we will look into this, and this is it). We are going to apply to them the full force of the law,” Lorenzana said.
“We are going to punish them,” he added. (davaotoday.com)