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Army eyes transfer 14 detained enlisted men to Ft Bonifacio

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 02:23pm (Mla time) 10/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Army is planning to transfer 14 detained enlisted men detained to Fort Bonifacio from Camp Capinpin in Rizal province to hasten the investigation — delayed for more than a year — into their alleged links to a supposed coup plot in February 2006.

This was confirmed by their lawyer, Vicente Verdadero and Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., Army spokesman, in separate interviews with reporters Tuesday.

Verdadero said the Army Judge Advocate, Colonel Gilberto Jose Roa, called him up Tuesday and informed him of the plan to transfer his clients to the Custodial Management Unit (CMU) compound in Fort Bonifacio.

“Colonel Roa said the 14 will be brought down [from Tanay]; they will be detained at the CMU. According to him, this is to facilitate the conduct of the investigation,” Verdadero said.

“Nothing is definite yet about the transfer. But if that is deemed necessary to facilitate the conduct of investigation, that can be an option,” Torres said.

Verdadero said he saw nothing wrong with the planned transfer and that Roa assured him his clients’ statements would be taken only in the presence of counsel.

On Monday, the 14 detained Scout Rangers refused to cooperate with military investigators, who went to their Tanay detention cells unannounced, since their lawyer was not present.

Last week, the Army discharged from service 26 other Scout Rangers who had been detained in Tanay, acting on year-old recommendations that found a “preponderance of evidence” that they violated Articles of War 67 (mutiny) and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline).

Both the discharged soldiers and those who remain locked up were detained even without formal charges filed against them.

Verdadero said Roa admitted to him that getting the statements of the 14 detained soldiers a year after they were detained was a “lapse” on the Army’s part.

The lawyer said his clients are studying the legal moves they might take over the delay in the investigation.

Roa was not immediately available for comment but Torres maintained a “shortage of manpower” delayed the investigation of the detained soldiers.

“However, the investigation into the February destabilization [plot] was never neglected as the legal process on the officers is continuing,” Torres said.

Torres noted that the 28 officers linked to the plot — 19 Scout Rangers and nine Marines — have been charged with mutiny before a court martial.

The accused are led by ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, ex-First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and former 1st Marine Brigade chief Colonel Ariel Querubin.

Lim and Querubin, supposedly with Miranda’s knowledge, allegedly planned a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 24, 2006, to coincide with street protests marking the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002007-10-30T06:35:53+00:00+00:0010b+00:00Tue, 30 Oct 2007 06:35:53 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

Posted in Uncategorized

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