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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.

05242007-esperon.jpg

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.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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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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