THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) clarified Wednesday, March 13, that the killing of a 23-year-old naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet reportedly by his corps commander is a “plain criminal act” and is not related to the government’s ROTC program.
“What happened was a plain criminal act that sprung from an altercation between two private individuals over personal matter. We condole with the relatives of the victim,” AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
Based on initial report, ROTC cadet Willy Amihoy, 23, a student of Iloilo State College of Fisheries, was killed by the corps commander identified as Elmer Decilao.
But Arevalo said that based on investigation, Decilao, who was arrested by police, has never been an ROTC corps commander and had been in the program last in March 2017.
“There is no way that this is ROTC-related incident or that it could have happened in a ROTC training environment,” he said.
“This is a distortion of facts and resort to a lie by some groups desperate to discredit both the ROTC program and malign the reputation of the President (Rodrigo Duterte),” he added.
He said the killing happened after Amihoy accused and confronted Decilao of stealing his wallet.
The incident happened amid discussions on whether ROTC should be made a mandatory course in Grades 11 and 12.
Arevalo said the AFP advocates for the ROTC program to be a requirement for Grades 11 and 12, as the military believes that the program will help instill nationalism and patriotism to the youth and inculcate on them discipline, sense of purpose, respect for the laws, rules, regulations, and the authorities and elders.
“The youth of today shall be the leaders of the future and imbibing and nurturing these values will redound to the benefit of the next generation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemned Amihoy’s killing.
The CHR said violence should never be allowed in schools and universities where children are expected to learn and grow in safe environments, which serve as their second homes.
“We stress that the right to life must always be protected and curtailing it arbitrarily must be punished by law. To this end, we urge the government to allow our laws and due process determine appropriate sanctions to the perpetrator of this crime,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said. (SunStar Philippines)