Ranking Army officer axed over photo manipulation mess

MANILA -- The commanding officer of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, a field unit of the Camarines Sur-headquartered 9th Infantry Division, admitted responsibility for the release of a manipulated photo showing rebel surrenderers in Masbate City last December, and was subsequently relieved from his post.

Philippine Army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said Lt. Col. Napoleon G. Pabon admitted the mistake and took responsibility for the outcome of the photo manipulation during the investigation of the PA Board of Inquiry.

Pabon was relieved of his post effective January 7 after PA Insp. Gen. Antonio Ramon Lim concluded the inquiry on New Year's Day.

Zagala said the PA is reviewing its policies to institute necessary changes that will ensure that such mistakes would be avoided in the future.

The altered photo drew flak on social media.

“We hold our personnel with high esteem in all our dealings, especially in our releases to the media and the public. We constantly train and remind them of our policies so that everyone is knowledgeable in the proper release of information and we take this incident as a valuable experience that will enable us to better perform our mission,” he added.