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Archive for September 2007

No need to bring Miranda to hospital–military

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:36pm (Mla time) 09/29/2007

MANILA, Philippines – The military has said there is no need to transfer ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda to a hospital from his detention cell at an Army camp in Tanay town, Rizal province as his condition can be “managed as an outpatient.”

In a statement, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said doctors checked on Miranda last Friday afternoon, shortly after his co-accused for mutiny, Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, told the court martial hearing their case that Miranda was sick.

“There are no life-threatening findings,” Bacarro said. A “follow-up checkup in the afternoon of September 28 [showed that the] patient is not admissible [to a hospital]. He can be managed as an outpatient.”

Bacarro added that Miranda’s condition had even “improved” since his last check-up on September 18.

Lim said Miranda was suffering from diabetes, high blood cholesterol, vertigo, and an ear infection. He said the ex-Marines chief passed out in the bathroom, almost hitting his head on the floor.

Quoting a September 19 laboratory test, Bacarro said Miranda’s blood sugar level was “slightly elevated but not alarming.”

Miranda and Lim are among 28 officers on trial for mutiny before a court martial for allegedly plotting a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February 2006.

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Sat+00:002007-09-29T09:42:11+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Sat, 29 Sep 2007 09:42:11 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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Army chief vows no let-up vs Abu Sayyaf

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 04:38pm (Mla time) 09/29/2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – In the wake of the death of two of his men and the wounding of several others in an encounter with Abu Sayyaf and Moro rebels in Basilan, Army chief, Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, vowed “no let-up” in offensives against the bandits.

At the same time, Yano paid tribute to those killed and wounded in combat, saying: “We are not repaying you enough, because what you give are your lives.”

The Army chief visited the nine wounded troopers at the Camp Navarro hospital inside the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters here late Friday.

Nine of the wounded include seven Scout Rangers, an Air Force man, and an Army militia. Yano brought with him a doctor from the Army hospital in Fort Bonifacio to help treat the troops.

“We will continue on without let-up the operations in the two islands,” Yano said.

“We will fully support and see to it that our army troops are fit to fight and they have all the requirements to sustain the fight in our campaign especially against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group,” he added.

Aside from Basilan, Army and Marine troops are also running after the Abu Sayyaf in the neighboring island province of Sulu.

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Written by joelguinto

Sat+00:002007-09-29T09:00:50+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Sat, 29 Sep 2007 09:00:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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‘No proof Abu commander Indama slain’–general

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:46pm (Mla time) 09/29/2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Major General Nelson Allaga admitted that the military has no proof that Abu Sayyaf commander Furji Indama was killed in an encounter with government troops in Basilan last August 18.

A body believed to those of the bandit leader was later identified to be that of his brother, Umair, Allaga told reporters at the Westmincom headquarters in Camp Navarro here.

“Nagkamali nung una. [That was a mistake]. It was an Indama, but it turned out to be the brother, Umair,” Allaga said.

But when asked if he could confirm that Furuji Indama is alive, Allaga said: “We are not sure as of now.”

Indama allegedly led Abu Sayyaf fighters and alleged reinforcements from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in three encounters with Army Scout Rangers and Special Forces troops last September 25 that left two government troopers killed and nine others wounded.

Ten bandits, according to military estimates, were also killed.

Allaga was Marine commandant at the time of the August 18 encounter in sitio (sub-village) Kuraleng, Silangkom village, Ungkaya Pukan town in which 15 troops were killed.

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Sat+00:002007-09-29T08:49:29+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Sat, 29 Sep 2007 08:49:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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MILF dared: ‘Disown Abu Sayyaf once and for all’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:29pm (Mla time) 09/29/2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The commander of military forces in western Mindanao dared the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to “once and for all disown” the Abu Sayyaf, whose fighters the secessionist rebels allegedly reinforced in encounters with government forces last September 25.

At the same time, Major General Nelson Allaga, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the military filed last Friday a complaint against the MILF before the joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) for allegedly joining the extremists battle elite Army Scout Rangers and Special Forces troops in Basilan province.

The CCCH oversees the implementation of the ceasefire between Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the MILF, which is engaged in peace negotiations with government.

“What the MILF should do is to once and for all disown the Abu Sayyaf. They should dissociate themselves from the bandits,” Allaga told reporters late Friday in an interview at the Westmincom headquarters in Camp Navarro.

“That’s all the military needs. [If the MILF cuts ties with the Abu Sayyaf] That will be a big shot for us,” he said.

When pressed by reporters, Allaga said last Tuesday’s incident proved that the MILF is in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf, contrary to the claims of the rebel group’s leadership.

“Yes of course, they are providing support [to the Abu Sayyaf],” Allaga said of the MILF.

Nine government troopers, including seven Scout Rangers, an Army militia man, and an Air Force trooper were wounded in the three encounters in Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo last Tuesday.

Allaga claimed the MILF, through the ceasefire observers from the International Monitoring Team (IMT), knew the Army was fighting the Abu Sayyaf.

“Despite that fact, they moved out Ginanta [village] to reinforce the [Abu Sayyaf] troops,” he said.

The MILF had earlier agreed to stay in Ginanta in Tipo-Tipo, to give way to military offensives against the bandits, who most recently beheaded 10 of 14 Marines killed after they were ambushed by the secessionist rebels, also in Ginanta, last July 10.

The commander of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion who engaged the bandits last Tuesday, Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Yogyog, said his men initially encountered only 10 Abu Sayyaf members in Silangkom village early Tuesday morning.

Silangkom is the site of an Abu Sayyaf camp that was overrun by the Marines in a fierce gun battle last August 18 that left 15 government soldiers killed.

But an estimated 50 MILF members reinforced the bandits, reportedly coming from Ginanta village some two to three kilometers away from Silangkom, Yogyog said.

Yogyog said the extremists were on patrol and apparently knew that the Scout Rangers were about to strike.

“With the peace agreement, they [MILF] should stay in their recognized camps. They engaged our troops. They want to repeat what they did with the Marines [wherein] they captured some firearms,” Yogyog said, referring to the July 10 incident in Ginanta.

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Written by joelguinto

Sat+00:002007-09-29T08:48:38+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Sat, 29 Sep 2007 08:48:38 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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Detained officers on new coup plot: ‘Paranoid psywar’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 03:48pm (Mla time) 09/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The 28 officers facing court martial over the botched February 2006 coup dismissed as “paranoid psywar” Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s disclosure of an alleged fresh coup plot.

In a statement, the group said destabilization was the military’s own doing, after being implicated in election fraud and corruption allegations.

“[We have] no info [on the fresh plot], unless they substantiate their disclosure with names, a statement like this is paranoid, a psywar,” the group said.

The officers said they believed the “psywar” was meant to “threaten and manipulate our soldiers.”

The group also took a swipe at Esperon, and revived allegations linking him to alleged cheating operations in 2004, of which he had been cleared by a military fact-finding board.

“Active or passive participation in the electoral process, considered as the foundation of our democracy, by the military top brass is a violation that sworn oath which will forever haunt Esperon,” the group said.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-28T15:22:53+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:22:53 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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Lim blasts AFP for keeping Miranda from seeking treatment

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 03:11pm (Mla time) 09/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, who is on trial for mutiny, accused the military of “playing god” for not allowing his co-accused, Marine Major General Renato Miranda, to seek treatment for potentially serious diabetes and high blood cholesterol, among other ailments.

“Some people are playing gods even when it comes to the health and lives of other people,” Lim said in a statement to reporters during a court martial hearing on their case.

“Major General Miranda [has been] sick [for] two weeks now. He has problem[s] with his sugar level and cholesterol count,” Lim, former commander of the elite 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, said.

He said Miranda collapsed in the bathroom of his detention cell last week and almost banged his head to the floor.

“He wanted to go to the hospital but [the Armed Forces] wouldn’t allow him,” Lim said.

He said a certain Colonel Torellavega, the head of the 2nd Infantry Division hospital in Tanay, Rizal, where the two generals and other officers co-accused with them are detained, informed Camp Aguinaldo commander Brigadier General Alfred Cayton of Miranda’s request for hospitalization.

However, Cayton reportedly rejected the request, allegedly saying the Marine general was a “security risk.”

“Miranda’s serious medical needs are not being attended to. He could collapse again anytime or go into coma due to hypoglycemia,” Lim said.

The Army general issued a similar statement in court, to which the court martial president, Major General Jogy Leo Fojas, responded saying they would coordinate with Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., so Miranda is given the medical attention he needs.

Miranda, Esperon and virtually the whole general staff of the Armed Forces are “mistahs” from the Philippine Military Academy’s class of 1974.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-28T15:22:08+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:22:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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Esperon on coup plotters’ shirts: Families trying to be cute

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By Joel Guinto

Last updated 12:53pm (Mla time) 09/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has dismissed as propaganda the plan of families of officers linked to the February 2006 botched coup to sell t-shirts, with their pictures and a slogan printed on them.

“Wala lahat ang pa-cute na propaganda na yan [All their attempts at trying to be cute with their propaganda will amount to nothing]. Bottomline is they are destabilizers whose only aim is to grab power,” Esperon said Friday through his spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro.

“The national interest for peace, stability and progress are farthest from their aspirations,” Esperon added.

The wives and children of the 28 Army Scout Ranger and Marine officers wore the shirts during a hearing on their mutiny case in Tanay town, Rizal province on Friday.

Printed on the shirts are the words “a few good men.”

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-28T15:21:12+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:21:12 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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Kin of jailed coup plotters dramatize support with shirts

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 11:16am (Mla time) 09/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The families of 28 officers facing court martial over the botched 2006 plot to topple the Arroyo government showed their support by wearing t-shirts bearing the faces of the accused at Friday’s hearing of their case by a military court in Rizal province.

Aside from the officers’ pictures in front of the t-shirts, printed at the back were the words:

“Our nation does not need orators who know just what to say. It does not need authorities to reason a way. But our nation needs just a few good men.”

“What our country needs today are men of will, who dare to go against the tyrants and oppressors.”

“Our country calls the one who has the strength to stand up for the truth, rise up and be counted”

The wife of accused Colonel Ariel Querubin, Maria Flor, said the shirts would be sold commercially at P250 each to pay for the renovation of the officers’ detention cell at Camp Capinpin in Tanay town.

“We are still negotiating for stores to sell it for us, will inform you about it the moment it’s finalized,” Mrs. Querubin said in a text message.

The accused, led by Querubin and Brigadier General Danilo Lim, ex-Army Scout Rangers chief, allegedly planned a withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Feb. 24, 2006, the 20th anniversary of a military-backed popular revolt that ousted then president Ferdinand Marcos.

Querubin also led a standoff at the Marine headquarters two days later, on February 26, to protest the sudden relief of Major General Renato Miranda as Marine commandant.

Miranda allegedly knew of the supposed coup plot.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-28T15:19:50+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:19:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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Army told: ‘Don’t engage in extrajudicial killings’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:13pm (Mla time) 09/27/2007

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Army chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano told troops here on Thursday not to be engage in extrajudicial killings.


At the same time, Yano said he was holding ground commanders responsible if such murders happen in their areas of responsibility.

“Do not even attempt to do it. It is not a policy. It is not allowed,” he said.

He repeated this admonition at a command conference later at the 1st Infantry Division headquarters in Pulakan town, Zamboanga del Sur.

“Ensure that no extrajudicial killings happen in your areas,” he told officers. “We will charge that against you under command responsibility.”

Investigations by the Palace-formed Melo Commission, United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, Amnesty International and the New York-based watchdog group Human Rights Watch have blamed security forces for the wave of extrajudicial killings.

Human rights groups estimate that close to 900 lives have been lost to extrajudicial killings since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001.

The military has rejected the allegations and instead blamed the murders on a supposed “purge” within the communist rebel movement.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-09-27T15:05:21+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Thu, 27 Sep 2007 15:05:21 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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Junior officers urged to resist recruitment for coup plots

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 11:38am (Mla time) 09/27/2007

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Saying soldiers should never regard themselves as “messiahs,” Army Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano urged junior officers to resist recruitment for plots to overthrow government.

Should soldiers insist on playing “savior,” Yano said they should “get out of the service” first.


“I hope you understand military adventurism. We should not allow it. It destroys not only the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], it [also] stalls the march to progress of our country. Let us not look at ourselves as the messiah or the savior,” Yano addressed company commanders, all with junior officer ranks of second lieutenant to captain, during a conference here.

Junior officers are the alleged targets of recruitment for a fresh plot to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, agitated by corruption scandals hounding her government.

“Never use your government-issued firearms against the government. Once you are out of the service you can shout all your grievances,” he said.

Lashing out at rebel soldiers, Yano said they were a “very small and very noisy minority” who have made military adventurism “fashionable.”

“I cannot agree that they are more patriotic than us just because they are noisy and agreed to be recruited. Just because I didn’t join them, that should not make me a villain,” he said.

“They don’t have a monopoly of patriotism,” he added.

Yano lamented how officers linked to past uprisings have been treated with “kid gloves.”

“We should not allow [adventurism]. It destroys not only the AFP, it stalls the march to progress of our country,” he said.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-09-27T15:02:08+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Thu, 27 Sep 2007 15:02:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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