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An enlisted personnel was placed under custodial investigation by naval authorities in Palawan for allegedly raping a 14-year old resident of Kalayaan town in the West Philippine Sea.

Initial reports gathered by Palawan News from defense sources said the suspect was part of an augmentation team that brought construction materials to one of the islands, where around 10 families were previously resettled.

The alleged sexual assault reportedly happened on June 8 and 15 in one of the military detachments, according to the source.

The report was confirmed by Maj. Cherryl Tindog, public affairs officer of the Western Command (WESCOM), and Lt. Joseph Ison, public affairs officer of the Naval Forces West (NFW).

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“The report had reached us and we already sent investigating and medical teams to the island to determine if the report is true. Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos has zero tolerance for cases like this. Rest assured we will leave no stones unturned regarding this,” Tindog said.

“Yes, he is under our strict custody and undergoing investigation. Rest assured we will not condone this kind of action,” Ison also said.

Tindog said the teams left on June 23 and is expected to return after a week.

She said the victim is still in Kalayaan as of press time.

“Likewise, we have also coordinated with the LGU of Kalayaan to ensure that all necessary interventions will be properly undertaken,” Tindog added.

The suspect, a seaman second class, sailed to Kalayaan aboard a navy vessel to bring construction materials for an infrastructure project being built.

Ison said they will release information regarding the investigation as soon as it has been completed.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.