PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — Two American soldiers taking part in the annual Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) military exercises with the Philippine military figured in a rumble inside a bar in downtown Puerto Princesa City Friday with local patrons and the club’s staff.
The city police chief, Supt. Abad Osit, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday that an employee of the club and the two American soldiers both filed separate complaints for physical injury before the City police on Saturday but eventually agreed to settle amicably.
The police blotter indicated that the two soldiers, identified as Anthony Desaldo, 22, and Keith A. Brautigan, 24, went inside Warehouse 45 Disco Bar in Barangay San Miguel here for drinks at around 11 p.m. of Friday.
A bouncer at the establishment, Allan John Gapulao, claimed in his complaint that the US soldiers were already drunk when they came and were “creating trouble” for other patrons.
Gapulao said that when he asked the two to leave the establishment, the American soldiers made a scene at the parking lot and provoked him to a fight.
In their own complaint filed before the police, Brautigan claimed that 18 to 21 persons allegedly attacked them when they tried to leave the establishment.
The Americans claimed that they were attacked with a metal pipe and peppered with rocks as they tried to run back to their hotel, the Ipil Travelodge Puerto Princesa, which was just a walking distance from the bar.
They added that the owner of the establishment and the barangay (village) captain of the area, Patrick Hagedorn, a nephew of Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, allegedly “threatened” them when they were already in the hotel.
Brautigan suffered a broken nose and head injuries while Desalvo had a bruised right cheek. The club’s bouncer, Gapulao, had four stitches in the head caused by a steel pipe, the police record showed.
Osit said both sides have already settled the complaints and no charges would be filed against both parties.
The two Americans were part of the US military contingent that came here in April for the Palawan segment of the Balikatan exercises, a joint undertaking of the Philippine and US militaries that included civil-relations activities, such as road and school building constructions on one hand, and military land and sea warfare exercises.
The two US soldiers were among a small group of the US military contingent that remained in Palawan to do finishing touches on the civil works of projects done by the Americans, said a military officer here who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter.
The source said the American soldiers have since been housed at Ipil Travelodge, which was described in its website as a 40-room hotel along Rizal Avenue located at the heart of the city.