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Archive for May 24th, 2007

Esperon admonishes 3 Army commanders over lost vehicle plate

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:54pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. admonished three battalion commanders over “negligence” that resulted in the loss of a license plate from an Army camp in Norzagaray town, Bulacan province.

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The license plate was allegedly used on the vehicle of the abductors of activist Jonas Burgos, son of the late newspaper publisher Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr. It was registered to an environment department service car that was impounded at the 56th Infantry Battalion
headquarters.

Esperon said the “administrative admonition” was meted on former battalion commanders of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonels Noel Clement and Melquaides Feliciano, and the commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Edison Caga.

Esperon said the three were admonished since it was not clear under whose watch the license plate was stolen.

“The coverage of the investigation had been on the matter of the missing plate number, the administrative side of it,” he said.

“There are punishments that we have imposed, but that is only on the administrative part, because if we impose punishments that are punitive in nature, we might be encroaching on the realm of the police,” he added.

The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is looking into the criminal aspect of the Burgos case.

Clement and his men left the Norzagaray base in November 2006 for retraining, and while he was away, the 69th Infantry Battalion commander looked after the camp. Feliciano took over from Celement early this year.

Esperon said the administrative admonition would be included in the said officers’ summary of information (SOI), and could affect their possible promotions.

The military chief said the administrative suspension on Feliciano has not been lifted.

In a related development, police gave Feliciano and two of his men, Corporal Castro Bugalon and Private First Class Jose Villena, three days to appear before the CIDG or be cited for contempt.

“We are giving them until May 31, 2007 to appear before the CIDG to give their side, otherwise they will be cited for contempt. The CIDG has the authority to issue summons and cite for contempt anybody who will ignore these summons,” said Director Geary Barias chief of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM).

Bugalo and Villena received the impounded DENR vehicle at their Norzagaray headquarters.

Burgos was allegedly kidnapped from a Quezon City mall last April 28.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2007-05-24T14:32:59+00:00UTC05bUTCThu, 24 May 2007 14:32:59 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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Air Force general is new deputy chief of staff

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:27pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Air Force Major General Pedrito Cadungog took over as Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff during turnover ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.

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Cadungog replaced Lieutenant General Christie Datu, also from the Air Force, who retired on Thursday.

The deputy chief of staff is the third highest position in the military hierarchy, after the chief of staff and the vice chief of staff.

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Cadungog’s last assignment was commander of the Air Education and Training Command bsaed in Ginatilan town, Cebu province.

He also served under the Presidential Security Group and as chief of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2007-05-24T14:31:24+00:00UTC05bUTCThu, 24 May 2007 14:31:24 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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Makati deputy police chief dies while making ends meet

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By Joel Guinto, Jeannette Andrade, Kristine Liu,
INQUIRER.net, Inquirer
Last updated 08:55pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Robbers killed the deputy chief of the Makati City Police, who was moonlighting as a public utility vehicle driver, and held up 13 of his passengers Wednesday evening in Quezon City.

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The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has come up with artist’s sketches of three of the five suspects who shot dead Superintendent Joven Bocalbos, 38, of Queen’s Row Subdivision, Bacoor Cavite. Bocalbos has just assumed the post as deputy chief of police in Makati City.

QCPD Director Sr. Supt. Magtanggol Gatdula assured that top priority has been given in arresting the suspects, saying, “Hindi titigil ang buong puwersa ng QCPD. Halos lahat kumikilos na at ibinaba muna ang kanilang mga trabaho para tutukan ang kaso (The entire QCPD force will not stop. Almost all units are moving and have momentarily set aside their current work to focus on the case).”

This, he pointed out, was standard operating procedure each time a police officer is murdered. “Our operatives have fanned out throughout the entire Metro Manila to hunt the suspects and arrest them,” the QCPD Director stressed.

Based on the artist’s sketches rendered from descriptions provided by Bocalbos’ passengers, one of the suspects who shot the police colonel is approximately 30 years old, 5’5” tall, medium-built, and is tanned while his other cohort is between 25 and 30 years old, 5’5” tall, medium-built, and dark-skinned.

The suspect who commandeered Bocalbos’ green Nissan Urvan (plate no. XED-744) is described as at least 40 years old, between 5’6” and 5’7” tall, medium-built and has fair complexion. The last suspect wore a cap to conceal graying hair.

The suspected gunman, a witness and victim recalled, had allegedly told Bocalbo before shooting him in the back of the head, “Alam ko ang style mo, pulis din ako (I know your style. I am also a police officer).”

But Gatdula said that they are still verifying the information, pointing out, “Anybody can claim to be a cop to mislead the investigation. We are looking into that right now.”

Based on reports from the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU), the incident happened at around 7:30 p.m. along Commonwealth Avenue in Fairview.

Bocalbos was plying the Quezon Avenue to Almar-Zabarte Road in Novaliches when the suspects, who posed as passengers, drew their handguns and announced the heist. The robbers then instructed the police colonel to pull over and then commandeered the vehicle.

Bocalbos was ordered to sit at the middle portion of the vehicle while the designated driver of the group made a U-turn at the stoplight near Fairview Market. However, the suspects reportedly noticed the victim’s constant shift of position and frisked him. It was then that the gunman disarmed him and shot him in the nape.

At this point, while Bocalbos sat bleeding, the other suspects divested the passengers of their valuables and took the police colonel’s service firearm.

The robbers drove the commandeered vehicle to Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, where they abandoned the vehicle with the fourteen passengers still aboard.

As soon as the suspects were out of sight, one of the victims took over the steering wheel and drove the Urvan to the M-Tech Hospital in Makati City in an attempt to save Supt. Bocalbos, but to no avail. The police colonel was declared dead on arrival at the medical facility at around 8:45 pm.

Makati City police chief, Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, said Bocalbos plied the Quezon Avene-Almar route every night before his 8 p.m. shift to earn a little extra.

“Pantawid gutom yan [It’s meant to relieve hunger], to make ends meet,” Cruz said in a phone interview, adding Bocalbos’ children were still in elementary and high school.

“That’s how it is for honest policemen. They work extra to augment the little they get from the government,” said Superintendent Franklin Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 4 that investigated the incident.

The base pay of police superintendents is about P18,000, with allowances, and their gross pay could reach P30,000.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2007-05-24T08:09:50+00:00UTC05bUTCThu, 24 May 2007 08:09:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Bomb goes off in La Union

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In front of store of mayoralty supporter

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 12:28pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — An improvised explosive went off in front of a hardware store owned by a supporter of a town mayor in the northern province early Thursday morning, the regional police chief said.

At around 1 a.m., three unidentified men on board a motorcycle lobbed the improvised bomb in front of the Southern La Union Grave and San General Merchandise in Agoo town, said Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil, chief of the Ilocos Region police.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. The motive for the attack was not yet known, Bataoil said.

The hardware store is owned by a certain Ronnie Baldemor, a supporter of Agoo Mayor Eufronio Eriquel, who ran for congressman.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2007-05-24T05:56:55+00:00UTC05bUTCThu, 24 May 2007 05:56:55 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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RP-US naval war games set in Abu Sayyaf bailiwick

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 12:26pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Joint exercises between Filipino and American naval forces, which will open next week, will be staged for the first time in the southwestern Philippines, a known bailiwick of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, Philippine Navy officials said.

The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) will open on May 31. The war games will be held in various sites in Zamboanga City and the nearby island province of Basilan, said Philippine Navy spokesman Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

“All scenarios will be covered [in the exercise], anti terrorism, smuggling, ad other forms of transnational crime,” Bacordo told reporters

Around 600 troops from the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Marines will take part in the exercise. The Philippine military will also field three patrol ships and a landing craft utility for the exercise, he said.

The number of troops and sea crafts from the United States Navy that will be involved in the exercise was not immediately available, Bacordo said.

In 2006, the CARAT was held at the Subic Naval Base and waters off Zambales province in the north. It will be held in Zamboanga and Basilan for the first time this year, said Navy Ensign Annaleah Palad, the public affairs officer of the exercise.

Asked if the staging of the naval war games in the south was related to the pursuit for Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah militants, Bacordo said, “It’s more of practicing the fleet-marine concept.”

The fleet-marine concept of the Armed Forces of the Philippines aims to enhance the interoperability of the Philippine Navy with its combat arm, the Philippine Marines. In this line, Marine troops have been transferred to the southwest from central Mindanao.

On Wednesday, troops raided a suspected Abu Sayyaf lair in Basilan province and seized several firearms and ammunition. The bandits were reportedly doubling as private armies for politicians.

Abu Sayyaf leaders are reportedly hiding in Sulu province, also in the southwest, along with two Jemaah Islamiyah militants who allegedly masterminded the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, Umar Patek and Dulmatin.

The CARAT exercise is covered by the Mutual Defense Treaty between the longtime military allies, the Philippines and the United States.

It is different from the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) war games, which were held earlier this year. This year’s Balikatan was scaled down to classroom teachings after the custody battle for a US Marine convicted for raping a Filipina delayed preparations for field exercises.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2007-05-24T05:55:55+00:00UTC05bUTCThu, 24 May 2007 05:55:55 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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