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12 Oakwood mutineers meted dishonorable discharge

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 01:07pm (Mla time) 08/22/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 3) Two alleged leaders of a shortlived mutiny in 2003 were among the 12 junior officers who were meted a penalty of dishonorable discharge from the service by a military court Wednesday.

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Army Captains Gerardo Gambala and Milo Maestrecampo and 10 others had pleaded guilty to charges that stemmed from allegedly leading some 300 officers and soldiers in a daylong takeover of the posh Oakwood Apartments in Makati City last July 27, 2003.

The 12 pleaded guilty to violation of Article of War 96 or conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Aside from Gambala and Mastrecampo, the 10 other officers are: Captains Albert Baloloy, Alvin Ebreo, Lawrence Somera, and John Andres, and First Lieutenants Rex Bolo, Von Rio Tayab, Audie Tocloy, Cleo Donga-as, Florentino Somera, and Brian Yasay.

Gambala was evasive in a brief interview with reporters during a break
from the hearing. He said: “No comment. Just report the facts. Alam nyo naman yun e [You know what they are].”

Brigadier General Nathaniel Legaspi, court president, said the verdict and sentence would become effective only when it has been approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as commander-in-chief.

It will also be up to Arroyo whether the pay and allowances of these 12 will be forfeited, said Legaspi.

Pending orders from the President, Legaspi said the “status quo” on their salaries should be observed.

In handing down the verdict, Legaspi said that the military court has recognized how these officers brought “great dishonor to the noble profession of arms.”

“The accused are adjudged guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” Legaspi said.

The sentencing of the 12 left 24 other junior officers to stand trial for the mutiny.

Seventeen so-called core leaders will continue to stand trial for violation of Article of War 96, including Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an ex-Navy lieutenant, and Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, who launched a civil disobedience campaign against Arroyo during his brief escape from December 2005 to January 2006, and Army First Lieutenant Lawrence San Juan.

San Juan reaffirmed his not guilty plea during Wednesday’s hearing.

The 12 who had been discharged from the service and 17 co-accused are also standing trial for coup d’etat before the Makati City regional trial court.

Seven other junior officers will continue to stand trial before a military court for violation of Articles of War 67 (mutiny), 63 (disrespect to the President), 64 (disrespect towards superior officer), and 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman). They have not been charged before civilian courts.

Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. Esperon took a swipe at the other mutineers still to face trial.

“The non-core officers were found guilty. The core group composed of Captain Gambala was found guilty. Draw your own conclusions,” he said.

In April, the same court sentenced 54 so-called “non-core” leaders to seven years in detention and dishonorable discharge from the service after they struck a plea bargain with military prosecutors. They will be released from detention in January after the court recognized three “mitigating circumstances” and cut three years from their sentence.

In May 2005, 184 enlisted men were sentenced to demotion in rank and forfeiture of a portion of their salaries also after a plea bargain.

Esperon said the 12 officers who were sentenced on Wednesday would remain under his custody, even if they are discharged, unless otherwise ordered by the Makati court handling their coup d’etat case.

“They remain under my custody until judge Pimentel revokes that,” he said.

Originally posted at 11:15amView article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2007-08-22T08:06:57+00:00UTC08bUTCWed, 22 Aug 2007 08:06:57 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Just read the article…. thanks…

    Blessings,
    John

    John

    TueUTC2009-01-06T16:05:06+00:00UTC01bUTCTue, 06 Jan 2009 16:05:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm01


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