Thorough fact-check untangled the riddle of lies in the alleged carabao-grazing soldier’s side of the coin when Philippine Army 302nd Brigade commander, BGen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, and witnesses in the community found the channel for truth to paint the full picture of the controversy.
It turned out that dismissed soldier, Alvin Calooy whose last rank was corporal, third from the lowest in the Philippine Army hierarchy, twisted the facts surrounding his dismissal from service.
The plain truth shows that Calooy had been dismissed for breach of discipline after being found guilty of indiscriminate firing when he got drunk while on security mission in barangay Candelaria, Dagohoy.
It surfaced recently that he was assured by some individuals that he would be reinstated to service if he would pass the brunt to the governor and his cousin.
A video of a recent episode of the television show of the Tulfo brothers contained Calooy’s allegation that he was deployed in September last year by then 47th Infantry Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jose Dodjie Belloga Jr., and 302ndBrigade commander, BGen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, to the farm of Gov. Edgar Chatto’s cousin, Liza Quirog, to guard carabaos.
Calooy alleged that he complied because it was Quirog who recommended to the governor who would be endorsed for promotion in the Philippine Army hierarchy.
He lamented, however, that he was dismissed from service instead of being promoted because of his “warning shot on October 9 last year”.
It was also alleged in the interview that it was Quirog who requested his presence in the area to serve as security guard for her farm in barangay Candelaria, Dagohoy where he allegedly guarded carabaos.
Calooy also alleged that he had to wear upper military uniform and bring along two R-4 service firearms.
However, this is contrary to the fact that soldiers detailed in the area during that time had to be in civilian attire.
In the interview with the Tulfo brothers, Calooy also failed to give details how it was to graze the carabaos, or any detail on his daily routine as to how he guarded the carabaos.
These turned out to be contrary to what actually transpired based on testimonies of witnesses that corroborated with Matanguihan’s side of the story.
In a one-on-one interview with The Chronicle, Matanguihan clarified that Calooy and another soldier had been deployed to barangay Candelaria in Dagohoy where Quirog’s farm is located to monitor the reported presence of suspected armed men.
Calooy’s deployment to the area came from 47th IB which had direct supervision over him and with Matanguihan’s approval.
“Ang totoo talaga, nado’n talaga sya don sa area na y’on authorized ‘yong presence nya do’n. Hindi lang sya eh. During that time, dalawa sila. May mission sila na naka-assign sa kanila during that time do’n sa area na yan,” according to Matanguihan.
Matanguihan compared the situation to the standard operating procedure applied in any concern of security just like during the time when there were only three last Abu Sayyaf stragglers left in Bohol wherein soldiers were deployed to the barangays where they immersed in the community, clad in plain clothes like civilians and their service firearms discreetly kept.
This SOP is intended to place soldiers at vantage point to information so that they could immediately respond to reports from the community.
For Calooy’s assignment to the area proximal to Quirog’s farm in barangay Candelaria, it was in response to a specific report of threat of suspected armed men spotted there.
“Do’n sa area do’n, may specific report of threat ng suspected na armed men na nakikita do’n, umaaligid do’n saarea na ‘yon. Specifically do’n sa farm, ‘tsaka dito kay Ma’am Liza (Quirog),” Matanguihan said.
During that time, their mission was to neutralize the threat in the area, and not to guard the carabaos in Quirog’s farm.
Besides, Quirog has workers on her personal capacity assigned who graze and watch over the carabaos.
“They were not ordered to guard carabaos. That’s absurd. Hindi naman talaga trabaho ng sundalo na magbantay ng kalabaw. Isa pa, wala naman segurong alam yong sundalo na yon si Calooy kung pano mag-alima ng kabaw. Isa pa, may mga tauhan naman itong si Maam Liza para gawin yon. So they were not there to guard carabaos. They were there on a mission,” Matanguihan added.
According to some residents in the area, there were times that one of the two women whom Calooy has children would call and they would hear him arguing with the woman on the phone.
After the conversation on the phone, Calooy would resort to drinking until he gets too drunk.
The time came when he was caught firing his service firearm without reason.
Some witnesses believed that family problems must have eaten up Calooy as he has two with one of the women, and three with the other.
The 47th IB which was his direct superior conducted an investigation on Calooy and he was found later to be guilty of indiscriminate firing, tantamount to breach of discipline.
This prompted his dismissal from service after due process which means he was given the chance to defend himself.
“Ang problema, no’ng nandoon sila, merong breach of discipline. Nag-indiscriminate firing. Naghubog,indiscriminate firing. So ‘yong battalion, yong 47th IB, sya naman ang direct superior no’ng sundalo, nag-conduct ng investigation and later on, found out do’n sa investigation na guilty talaga s’ya on indiscriminate firing, ng breach of discipline. And, he was recommended for discharge. So that was the reason why he was discharged,” Matanguihan explained.
Matanguihan also pointed out that discipline is important to the military, because they maintain the good image of the soldiers.
Whenever there is breach of discipline and violations of regulations, the Philippine Army conducts an investigation and when a concerned soldier is found guilty, the investigating officials recommend appropriate punishment, he added.
On the part of Calooy, his case was indiscriminate firing and drunkenness.
The 47th IB was the direct unit supervising Calooy and Matanguihan of the 302nd Brigade exercises operational control over them.
Matanguihan further elaborated that it has been monitored that the communist terrorists have been trying to recover Bohol which means they want to re-establish their stronghold in the province.
The military monitored four groups serving as fronts of the New People’s Army.
The leaders who are working to prevent resurgence of insurgency in Bohol are, obviously, the target of the communist terrorists to be eliminated first.
“Ngayon sino ba ‘yong pinaka-hindrance. Sino ba ‘yong leaders na nagtatrabaho to prevent the resurgence of insurgency? No. 1 do’n ang governor, at mga partner ng provincial government- -‘yong mga PPOC (Provincial Peace and Order Council), government agencies, ‘yong security sector- -PNP, army, lahat ng members ng security sector, and of course, ‘yong community,” Matanguihan explained.
Quirog became the sure target, being the focal person in the programs and partnerships between the provincial government and the military.
Quirog coordinates the Purok Power Movement which is tasked to deliver government services to the hinterlands and maintain an open communication between the government and the people for fast response to concerns from the grassroots community.
“’Yong sa purok power movement which is a socio-economic program, sino bang nag-handle no’n? Si Ma’am Liza. Lahat ng programs na ito, lahat ng partnerships namin dito between the government and the military, ang focal person si Ma’am liza naman ‘yon. So, if you want to recover Bohol (on the part of the communist terrorists), sinong unang i-eliminate mo? Eliminate mo si governor, i-eliminate mo si Ma’am Liza. So, do’n sa area na ‘yon, meron kaming na mo-monitor na may umaaligid do’n sa area na ‘yon. So, ‘yon ‘yong mission nila (Calooy and the other soldier deployed), ma-neutralize ‘yong grupo na ‘yon na umaaligid do’n na maaring may planong masamang gawin sa mga opisyales natin dito sa province,” Matanguihan explained.
Matanguihan also clarified that the provincial government is not involved in the promotion system of the military.
The promotion of soldiers is based on number of service in the rank, and schooling, among other criteria.
It is clear that Quirog and Chatto cannot recommend the promotion of any soldier, contrary to Calooy’s allegations.