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Archive for May 1st, 2007

Air Force demolishes theater used by JIL in Villamor

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 06:20pm (Mla time) 05/01/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) demolished on Monday a theater inside its headquarters, which had been used as a place of worship by the religious group Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Movement, to give way to a project by property development firm Megaworld, officials said.

The eviction of the JIL members went on peacefully, even as they had insisted on staying at the Airmen’s Theater in Villamor Airbase south of Manila, despite being served eviction notices since December 2006, said Brigadier General Rolando Capacia, chief of the PAF 520th Airbase Wing.

The JIL had been using the theater free of charge, Capacia said, though he could not immediately ascertain for how long.

The land on which the Airman’s Theater was built and several other pieces of land inside Villamor Airbase was turned over to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) in the 1990s, Capacia said.

In 1995, the BCDA and the PAF entered into a memorandum of agreement to clear areas inside the base, which would be sold to property firms, he added.

JIL leader Eduardo “Brother Eddie” Villanueva and his pastors were unavailable for comment. They are in Hong Kong to celebrate the group’s anniversary there, according to Villanueva’s staff member.

“We asked them [JIL] to leave to give way to the provisions of the MOA… We lent them the theater because we were not using it,” said Air Force chief Lieutenant General Horacio Tolentino.

“They knew that they had to leave. We’ve given them several deadlines and ultimatums since December… They were sad to leave,” Capacia said.

Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party list Representative Joel Villanueva, the son of the JIL leader, witnessed the eviction to make sure that their equipment would not be damaged.

Capacia said the JIL initially agreed to leave on the condition that Megaworld would provide them with a temporary relocation site.

When the property firm agreed, the religious group asked for a permanent relocation area. The company rejected the request, he said.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-05-01T12:36:32+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Tue, 01 May 2007 12:36:32 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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Don’t campaign for Palparan, troops told

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:21pm (Mla time) 05/01/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The military leadership warned troops against campaigning for retired major general Jovito Palparan’s bid for a seat in Congress under the Bantay party-list, amid reports soldiers have been passing around text messages supporting the controversial official’s candidacy.

Campaigning for any candidate would violate Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s order for troops to stay away from partisan political activities, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

“Soldiers cannot publicly campaign for or against any candidate. That will be construed as participating in partisan politics…They can be investigated and, of course, commensurate punishment will be given,” Bacarro added.

One text message read: “Sugpuin ang komunismo sa Pilipinas! Iboto ang Bantay party list para ipaglaban ang ating kapayapaan at demokrasya [Crush communism in the Philippines. Vote for Bantay party list to fight for peace and democracy].”

Before he retired from the service on September 11, 2006, Palparan gained notoriety for his alleged involvement in the murders and disappearances of hundreds of left-wing activists.

Allegations of human rights violations followed him wherever he was assigned since August 2003, when as commander of the 204th Infantry Brigade in Oriental Mindoro, he was accused of masterminding the murders of Karapatan worker Eden Marcellana and farmer-activist Eddie Gumanoy.

After a brief stint as commander of the Philippine contingent to Iraq, Palparan was assigned as commander of the 8th Infantry Division based in the Western Visayas, then as commander of the 7th Infantry Division based in Central Luzon.

Palparan’s party list is taking up the cause of the Army militia known as the Civilian Armed Forces Geographic Unit (CAFGU) members, and security guards.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-05-01T07:11:17+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Tue, 01 May 2007 07:11:17 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Military: ‘Burgos son not with us’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:41pm (Mla time) 05/01/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The military denied on Tuesday that the missing activist-son of the late newspaper publisher and press freedom icon Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr. is in its custody.

At the same time, Armed Forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro cried foul over activist groups’ blaming soldiers for the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, who had been helping the leftist Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines).

“We have checked it, there are no reports that Jonas is under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Bacarro told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Even in the absence of evidence, they [leftists] were quick again to blame the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It’s unfair. What we can say is that this action of militant groups is filled with malice,” Bacarro added.

Bacarro said the military would cooperate in investigations into Jonas’ disappearance.

At a news conference on Monday, Jonas’ mother, Edith, said her son last sent her a text message the evening of April 28 saying he was on his way home from the SM North EDSA shopping mall in Quezon City.

On the morning of April 29, Jonas sent another text message and was able to talk to his family on the phone, but his mother said he sounded drowsy and drugged.

Jonas was reportedly with two companions, a certain Melissa Reyes who was also reported missing, and an unidentified man.

The missing activists’ father fought the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s by setting up the hard-hitting We Forum, Malaya, and Midday newspapers.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-05-01T06:02:50+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Tue, 01 May 2007 06:02:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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