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Archive for October 10th, 2007

Army chief, ex-partylist solon clash on missing UP students

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 04:39pm (Mla time) 10/10/2007
MANILA, Philippines — Former Akbayan partylist congresswoman Loretta Anne Rosales dared Army Chief Alexander Yano to allow the mothers of two University of the Philippines (UP) students to visit them at an Army camp in Pangasinan, where they were allegedly being detained.

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Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño have been reported missing since 2006.

Yano did not take up Rosales’ dare, saying “hearsay” was not enough basis to open up the camp and subject his men to a “witch hunt.”

The two figured in a heated exchange at the weekly Fernandina Forum at the Club Filipino in San Juan City on Wednesday.

Rosales said she was taking Yano’s word when he maintained that extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances were not a state policy.

But in the case of Cadapan and Empeño, Rosales asked: “In a situation like that, where there is evidence like this, cannot [the Army] go out of [its] way to Pangasinan and seek out [the two students] and let the mothers visit them?”

When pressed by Yano, Rosales said the alleged detention of the two students in Pangasinan was based on “kwento [hearsay].”

Yano countered: “Mahirap ang kwento e [It’s hard if its hearsay], because I do not even know about it.”

Rosales insisted, saying: “That’s why I’m asking you. I’m communicating to you.”

“E wala nga e [There’s none],” Yano insisted. “It’s very hard to do a fishing expedition… Just give us [information] and we have processes to do it,” he said.

“Definitely if we have suspects from the ranks of the military, I as the commander will be the first one to surrender him,” he said.

But Rosales said: “No, no, this is a celebrated case, what I am saying is this, at your level, you’re the head of the Philippine Army… You can do it. Let’s look at it.”

Rosales cited the case of missing activist Jonas Burgos, wherein the Army had denied involvement even when one of the license plates on Burgos’ alleged kidnappers’ vehicle was traced to a vehicle impounded at an Army camp in Bulacan province.

“My position is let’s help each other. Let’s help civilians like Mrs. Cadapan,” she said.

Cadapan and Empeño were allegedly kidnapped, along with farmer Manuel Merino in Hagonoy town, Bulacan last June 26, 2006. Cadapan was two months pregnant at that time.

Reports said that in June, Cadapan, who was under heavy guard, visited her mother-in-law to get some clothes.

Left-wing militants have blamed the disappearances on retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, then chief of the 7th Infantry Division operating in Central Luzon.

Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-10-10T08:49:59+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Wed, 10 Oct 2007 08:49:59 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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40 Army soldiers detained without charges in Tanay–official

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 04:01pm (Mla time) 10/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Forty Army enlisted men have been detained at an infantry camp in Tanay town, Rizal province for over a year even as no formal charges have been filed against them for their alleged involvement in the botched February 2006 uprising, an Army spokesman admitted Wednesday.

The admission came only on Wednesday after Senator Rodolfo Biazon, in a visit to Camp Capinpin last Monday, said that he saw enlisted men detained there.

Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr. said military prosecutors with the Army Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) were still studying whether to subject the detainees to a court martial or file administrative charges against them.

The JAGO study was made upon recommendation of the Army Inspector General, which had first investigated the case, Torres told reporters.

Torres said the Army had the power to detain the soldiers, pending the filing of formal charges under Article of War 70 or the detaining power of the commander.

“They are being detained in relation to the February 2006 incident. There are two options at present and it is being evaluated, court martial [or charge them] administratively,” Torres said.

Torres said the 40 soldiers included troops from the elite Scout
Rangers and had varying degrees of participation in the alleged botched coup.

He said the soldiers were assigned in different areas, including the
Special Operations Command (Socom) headquarters at Fort Magsaysay in Laur town, Nueva Ecija province, the First Scout Ranger Regiment
(FSRR) headquarters at Camp Tecson in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, and FSRR bases in the Bicol region.

He said the “majority” of the 40 were brought to Camp Capinpin on July 24, 2006, while the rest followed in August 1 and sometime in October that same year.

But Torres could not ascertain the exact participation of the 40 soldiers in the supposed power grab attempt.

“The enlisted personnel there [in Tanay], they are with the detained [officers],” Torres said.

The 28 accused officers, led by ex-Marine commandant Major General
Renato Miranda, ex-Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin allegedly planned a mass withdrawal of support from Arroyo to coincide with protest marches on Feb. 24, 2006, the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising that ousted the Marcos dictatorship.

Of the 28, 19 are from the Army Scout Rangers and nine from the Marine Corps. They are charged with mutiny and other alleged violations of the Articles of War.

They have been detained in Tanay since mid-2006.

“Whatever happens to the officers will have a bearing on the enlisted men,” Torres said.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-10-10T08:37:27+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Wed, 10 Oct 2007 08:37:27 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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Trillanes ‘very disappointed’ over Pulido impeachment rap

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‘Highly probable’ Palace using lawyer, he says

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 01:42pm (Mla time) 10/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Wednesday that he was “very disappointed” over the impeachment complaint filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by his former lawyer and alleged that it was “highly probable” that Malacañang was using him to preempt a stronger case on the President.

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Roel Pulido filed last week a two-page complaint against Arroyo over her alleged inaction on the controversial $329-million national broadband network contract with China’s ZTE Corp.

“It is possible. It is highly probable. Those were the rumors,” Trillanes said, when asked if he believed that Pulido’s complaint at the House of Representatives was part of a Palace ploy.

“I am very much disappointed [with Pulido]. I hope he survives [in] his career after this,” Trillanes told reporters during a break in a hearing of his coup d’etat trial at the Makati regional trial court.

Should the House tackle Pulido’s complaint, there would be a one-year ban on the filing of similar cases as provided under House rules.

In 2005 and 2006, lawyer Oliver Lozano preempted opposition lawmakers in filing impeachment complaints against Arroyo over alleged election fraud in 2004. His complaints were dismissed for lack of substance.

Trillanes said he had not talked to Pulido since they relieved him of his professional services in 2006.

Aside from the rebel officers’ coup d’etat suit in Makati, Pulido also represented them in the case filed before a military court over a shortlived mutiny on July 27, 2003.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-10-10T08:36:42+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Wed, 10 Oct 2007 08:36:42 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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