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Archive for September 14th, 2007

AFP defends turnaround on provost marshal report

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:50pm (Mla time) 09/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Citing “disclosure policies,” the military justified its turnaround on the release of a fact-finding report on a missing license plate linked to the disappearance of missing activist Jonas Burgos.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public information officer Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said the military would also wait for the Court of Appeals action on a motion for reconsideration that the Solicitor General plans to file in an effort to prevent the release of the Provost Marshal’s report to the Burgos family.

“I think it’s Memorandum Circular 74 stating that these documents can’t be released. We have a disclosure policy,” Bacarro told reporters in
Camp Aguinaldo.

The appellate court has ordered the release of the Provost Marshal report in the course of hearing a petition for habeas corpus filed by the Burgos family against the military, who they blame for the abduction.

The report looks at the loss of a license plate (TAB-194) from a vehicle impounded at the headquarters of the 56th Infantry Battalion in Norzagaray town, Bulacan province.

The license plate was identified by witnesses as the one on one of the vehicles used by Burgos’ abductors, who forcibly took him from a Quezon City mall last June 28.

In a phone interview last September 7, Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he would comply with the Court of Appeals ruling.

“It’s a legal order. So, by all means, we have to follow the court order and the laws of the land,” Esperon said.

Asked about Esperon’s earlier pronouncement, Bacarro said: “But we have legal procedures that will determine when whether or not we cal yield [to the court order].”

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-14T07:29:47+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 14 Sep 2007 07:29:47 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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Military stays on red alert — spokesman

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:11pm (Mla time) 09/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will remain on red alert, a military spokesman said Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said the decision by authorities to keep the security status on red alert was because the situation was still being evaluated.

The military and police put their respective forces on red and full alerts early this week in anticipation of massive street protests by supporters of former president Joseph Estrada who was found guilty of plunder Wednesday by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

And then there are reports of fresh destabilization plots following the Estrada verdict.

Except for its forces in the capital and the elite Special Action
Force (SAF), the Philippine National Police lowered on Thursday its full alert status to “heightened alert,” the second highest in its two-step warning system.

“Up to now, there is no official declaration that we are downgrading our status. We remain to be on [red] alert,” Bacarro told reporters in
Camp Aguinaldo.

“Only when we can say that nothing more can happen, then we will downgrade it,” he said.

Asked if a threat to topple government existed, Bacarro said: “There are no validated threats but there have been rumors. There’s been talk but these need to be validated.”

Soldiers at military general headquarters are clad in camouflage uniform or battle gear attire, a standard operating procedure when the military is on red alert. Two UH-1H helicopters were also parked at the grandstand.

When under red alert, all military personnel are also required to report to their commanders and all leave passes are cancelled.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-14T05:56:21+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:56:21 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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4 MILF fighters surrender in Manila

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:09pm (Mla time) 09/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Four Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, who have allegedly grown weary of fighting in Mindanao, surrendered to Army troops undertaking community service in Manila, an Army commander said.

This brings to 13 the number of MILF members who turned themselves in to the Army Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion. Earlier, a group of nine rebels surrendered, CMO commander, Colonel Ricardo Visaya said.

The four insurgents surrendered to troops at the Parola compound in Manila’s Tondo district on Thursday afternoon. They also turned in an M16 rifle, a magazine, a shotgun, a Thompson machinegun, two .45-caliber pistols and assorted ammunition, Visaya told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

The four, all former members of the 201st Brigade of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, are under the custody of the CMO Battalion and are undergoing tactical interrogation.

“They’ve grown tired of the fighting in Maguindanao. They want to settle down. They have been moving from place to place, in Cavite, Quezon City,” Visaya said.

Visaya said the four were not linked to terrorist organizations like the Abu Sayyaf or the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM). Since arriving in Metro Manila in 2002, they have worked as pedicab drivers.

“With the surrenders, we can see that the people trust the soldiers,” he said.

Several days ago, a suspect in the murder of a seven-year-old girl in Manila surrendered to CMO soldiers.

Some 350 soldiers are deployed in Manila, Quezon City, Taguig City, and Marikina City as part of government efforts to thwart alleged recruitment activities of the communist New People’s Army.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-14T05:55:51+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:55:51 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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Sison still suspect in ex-comrades’ deaths — military

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 12:29pm (Mla time) 09/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Jose Ma. Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is not absolved from the alleged murders of his former comrades in the Philippines, a spokesman for the military said Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro gave this reaction, a day after a Dutch court, citing insufficient evidence, released Sison from detention following his arrest last month for the deaths of Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

“His release does not remove the fact that he had something to do with the murders here [in the Philippines]… We will continue our efforts to prove that he had something to do with it,” Bacarro said.

On Thursday, a Dutch court ordered Sison’s release, saying that although the CPP might be involved in the murders, there was no evidence to link the communist leader directly to the killings.

Bacarro refused to comment directly on the ruling, saying, “It is internal to them. They have their own legal processes.”

“But that [ruling] does not remove the fact that the CPP-NPA leadership had a hand in the purging operations,” the spokesman said.

Despite being in exile in the Utrecht in the Netherlands for 20 years, the military has insisted that Sison was still in control of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP.

Bacarro said Sison’s release was not likely to boost the morale of the NPA. Security forces were alerted over possible retaliatory attacks from the NPA after Sison was arrested.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-09-14T05:54:54+00:00+00:0009b+00:00Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:54:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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