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AFP insists Querubin detention in order

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 03:14pm (Mla time) 10/29/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The military insists there is “nothing irregular” about the detention of a Marine colonel linked to an alleged coup plot in February 2006, even as the Court of Appeals granted his wife’s petition for habeas corpus.

Even if Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. did not sign the pre-trial advice (PTA) for Colonel Ariel Querubin and his 27 co-accused, he enclosed with it a “memorandum” ordering the convening of a court martial to try the said officers for mutiny, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

In her habeas corpus petition, Querubin’s wife, Maria Flor, said the military had no basis to detain her husband since Esperon did not sign the PTA.

The PTA is a document prepared by Esperon’s staff judge advocate that reversed recommendations by pre-trial investigators not to charge any of the officers with mutiny.

“There is nothing irregular about it [Querubin’s detention] if you look at it from the perspective of the military justice system,” Bacarro told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

“It is not necessary [for Esperon] to sign the PTA. He attached a memorandum [ordering] the creation of a court martial,” Bacarro added.

Bacarro gave no assurances that Querubin would be presented to the court during the November 8 hearing of the habeas corpus petition, saying it was up to the Solicitor General who will represent the military in the case.

In a separate interview with reporters, Mrs Querubin said her husband was “so happy” with the appellate court’s ruling, especially since it came several days after she filed the habeas corpus petition.

Querubin said she was also eager to for a face-off in court with Esperon, who has been asked by the court to appear on the November 8 hearing.

“It’s the first time I filed a case against anyone. I’m hoping Ill see Esperon there on November 8. I’ve seen him from afar but never up close,” she said.

“If they base merits we have a good case here…the signature on the PTI is important; until now its unsigned,” she said.

Querubin, and ex-Army Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim allegedly planned a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 24, 2006, to coincide with street protests to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising.

Ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, the highest-ranking accused before the general court martial, allegedly knew of the plot.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-10-29T07:50:48+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Mon, 29 Oct 2007 07:50:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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