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Archive for October 5th, 2007

Military chief is no liar — spokesman

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:05pm (Mla time) 10/05/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. “has always been telling the truth,” his spokesman said Friday, after officers linked to a failed uprising in February 2006 dared him to “tell the truth” on alleged cheating operations in the last presidential election.

At the same time, AFP public information office chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro dismissed the statement of the coup suspects as a “well-crafted piece of literature in terms of form, but in terms of substance, it’s fiction.”

“General Esperon has always been telling the truth relative to the issues and the allegations he is involved in,” Bacarro told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Bacarro said Esperon has been cleared of the cheating allegations by a military fact-finding board and there was “no need for prodding from these officers.”

But Bacarro said the release of the full report of the board, headed by retired Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, the former Navy chief and AFP Inspector General, was no longer up to Esperon since Mayuga forwarded it to the Department of National Defense (DND).

“The ball is not in the hands of General Esperon. The report was elevated to the DND,” the spokesman said.

While it cleared Esperon and three other generals mentioned in the so-called “Hello Garci” wiretaps, Mayuga never released his report in full.

The four generals were mentioned in the recordings, wherein President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was allegedly caught talking to then elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano about plans to rig the 2004 election results, with the help of the military.

The 28 Army Scout Ranger and Marine officers, who allegedly conspired to topple Arroyo, released the statement on the sidelines of their court martial hearing on Friday.

In the statement, the officers also criticized Bacarro for saying that there were more competent officers outside of their detention cell at Camp Capinpin in Tanay town, Rizal province.

Bacarro issued the statement in response to t-shirts distributed by the accused officers’ families, bearing their portraits and the slogan “A few good men.”

Standing by his statement, Bacarro said: “Which is very true, there are more, better officers outside.”

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-10-05T09:29:42+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Fri, 05 Oct 2007 09:29:42 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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Officers on trial for mutiny dare Esperon: Tell the truth

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 03:30pm (Mla time) 10/05/2007

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal–(UPDATE) The 28 officers on trial for mutiny before a court martial over the failed February 2006 mutiny dared Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr to “tell the truth” on the alleged cheating operations in the 2004 elections.

Should Esperon heed their call, the Army Scout Rangers and Marine officers said their nemesis could “earn our salute.”

Reminding Esperon that he has four months to go before his retirement in February, the officers said: “Tell the truth. Just tell the truth. You might still earn our salute.”

“We have not given up on you, Mr Esperon. There might still be some good left in you,” they said in a statement before the start of their court martial hearing here.

“Every Navyman worth his salt knows why we call you ‘mister’… We lost that on you,” they said.

Esperon was mentioned in purported wiretapped phone conversations of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the 2004 canvassing.

A military board has cleared Esperon and three other generals mentioned in the tapes, but its report was never released to the public in full.

Esperon is the last of the four generals in the so-called “Hello Garci” tapes still in the active service.

He was unavailable for comment.

In the statement titled “Mr. Esperon,” the coup suspects, led by ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, former Army Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim and Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin, never referred to Esperon as General or Chief of Staff.

“Never [before] in the history of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has one man and his criminal gang brought so much shame to our beloved organization,” they said.

The officers said the action of the so-called “Hello Garci” generals has become the AFP’s “collective shame” since they failed to stop the alleged cheating operations that propelled Arroyo to a fresh six-year term.

They shot back at Esperon for tagging them “destabilizers, pointing out how he shed a tear “unabashedly” when Arroyo announced in December 2002 that she was not running in 2004. Esperon was then chief of the Presidential Security Group.

“Who stands accused of cheating in 2004? Who stands accused of lying? Who stands accused of stealing votes,” the officers said.

The officers criticized Esperon for withholding the release of the full report of former Navy Chief retired Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga on the alleged cheating operations, and from evading legislative inquiries while invoking Executive Order 464 and the military’s right to keep its “secrets.”

“And since when has a criminal act become a ‘state secret’? Pray tell, Mr. Esperon,” they said.

Senator Jamby Madrigal attended the Friday hearing here. She said the visit was connected with her position as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Peace and Reunification.

But Madrigal was denied entry to the officers’ detention cells inside the camp because she did not secure the permission of their guards earlier.

Madrigal lamented how Miranda was initially denied treatment outside the camp for his diabetes, high blood cholesterol, vertigo and ear infection.

“What bothers me is Esperon said destabilizers should not be given treatment… This is the Philippine version of Guantanamo,” she said.

Miranda was brought to the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City on Thursday.

Originally posted at 10:06 am

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-10-05T09:29:01+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Fri, 05 Oct 2007 09:29:01 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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