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Archive for November 7th, 2007

9 Marine officers in foiled coup urged to be ‘true Marines’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:09pm (Mla time) 11/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Marine Commandant Major General Ben Dolorfino has reached out anew to the nine Marine officers linked to the alleged February 2006 coup plot, urging them to be “true Marines” and stay within their constitutional mandate as protector of the people and the state.

Dolorfino made the appeal during the Philippine Marine Corps’ 57th anniversary on Wednesday. In his assumption speech last September,
Dolorfino urged the suspected coup plotters to “come home.”

“I would like to greet them happy birthday and as I mentioned earlier, being the father of all Marines, I enjoin everyone to be true Marines at all times,” Dolorfino addressed the nine officers, undergoing court martial for mutiny.

“I am enjoining everyone to be faithful at all times to our constitutional mandate as the protector of the people and the state… We should be guardians of our democratic institutions at all times,” he said.

“I am calling on all marines to stay united, contribute our share in making the Philippine Marine Corps a military unit that the Filipino people truly deserve and one they can be proud of at all times,” he said.

The nine detained Marine officers include Major General Renato Miranda, ex-corps commandant; Colonel Ariel Querubin and Lieutenant Colonel Custodio Parcon, both recipients of the Medal of Valor, the military’s highest combat honor.

They stand trial along with 19 Scout Rangers, including their ex-regiment commander, Brigadier General Danilo Lim, over an alleged plot to lead soldiers in a mass withdrawal of support from President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Feb. 24, 2006, the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising that restored democracy in the country.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-11-07T06:17:24+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Wed, 07 Nov 2007 06:17:24 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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Marines pay tribute to fallen comrades on 57th ‘birthday’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:09pm (Mla time) 11/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines — On their 57th anniversary, the Philippine Marines paid tribute to their comrades who were killed in battle, particularly the 29 who perished in two major encounters against the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayaff in Basilan province.

Major General Ben Dolorfino, the Marine commandant, led a memorial service for the fallen Marines at the Bonifacio Naval Station on Wednesday.

By tradition, the Marines call their anniversary their “birthday” because “we are growing,” Dolorfino explained.

“That is the uniqueness of the Marine tradition,” he said. “I think we are the only organization…no civilian or military [organization] calls their anniversary a birthday because we consider ourselves like a human being that keeps on growing. We continue to grow so that we will be relevant at all times to the needs of the time.”

“The holding of the memorial mass is a humble way of paying tribute to our brother Marine warriors who made the supreme sacrifice in duty, for our country to remain sovereign, our territory to stay undivided, and our people to continue to live in peace,” Dolorfino said in a speech after the service.

Addressing relatives of the fallen soldiers who attended the service, Dolorfino said: “Let not the loss of your loved ones adversely affect your lives, but instead, draw strength and inspiration from it, for they have not died in vain.”

On July 10, 14 Marines were killed, 10 of them beheaded, after they were ambushed by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits and Moro rebels in Ginanta village, Al-Barkah town.

Then on August 18, 15 Marines were killed in a battle inside an Abu Sayyaf lair in Silangkom village, Ungkaya Pukan town.

Except for one who surrendered and another who was arrested, the 130 suspects charged with murder for the July 10 incident remain at large.

Melanie Castañeda, the fiancée of First Lieutenant Roldan Somera, who died in the Ungkaya Pukan encounter, said: “Mahal, ito ba ang pinangarap mo? Wala ka naman dito. [Love, is this what you dreamt of? You’re not here].”

Juliet Simbajon, the widow of Sergeant Cayetano Simbajon who was beheaded in Al-Barkah, brought with her the one-month-old son her husband never saw.

“Nalungkot ako kasi naalala ko ulit siya [I am sad because I remembered him],” Simbajon said.

The names of the Marines killed in the recent encounters were etched on a tombstone near their headquarters building in Fort Bonifacio, where the names of other Marines killed in combat are engraved.

Dolorfino said troops were “doubling” efforts against the Abu Sayyaf, especially since Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s three-month deadline to defeat the extremists in Basilan ends this month.

“If there is a will, there will always be a way,” Dolorfino said when asked if the deadline could be met.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-11-07T06:16:37+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Wed, 07 Nov 2007 06:16:37 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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PMA cadet dies due to illness

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 12:54pm (Mla time) 11/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines — A fourth year cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) died due to “suspected upper respiratory tract infection” ahead of his graduation and commissioning into the military service, a spokesman for the academy said Tuesday.

Cadet Reenan Ferrer, 22, died at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, said Captain Dennis Solomon.

Ferrer would have graduated with the PMA Masiglahi Class in March 2008, Solomon said. Fresh graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army and Air Force or ensigns in the Navy.

On November 1, while on All Souls’ Day break, Ferrer was brought to the Perpetual Help Hospital in his hometown in Las Piñas City due to an “on and off fever,” the spokesman said.

He was later referred to the AFP Medical Center, where he suffered “several episodes of seizure,” Solomon said.

“The family of Cadet Ferrer consented for an autopsy to establish the final diagnosis of his death,” he said.

“Our efforts now are focused on helping his family,” he said, adding PMA Superintendent Major General Leopoldo Maligalig sent two officers and an enlisted man to assist the family.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-11-07T05:29:42+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Wed, 07 Nov 2007 05:29:42 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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8 soldiers hurt in clash with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 01:08pm (Mla time) 11/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Eight Army soldiers were wounded following an encounter with the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in the southern island province of Sulu, a spokesman for the Philippine Army said Wednesday.

The 15th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Company was on combat patrol in lower Talipao village, Talipao town at around 4 p.m. Tuesday, when they engaged some 20 bandits in a 30-minute firefight, said Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr.

The wounded were brought to the Camp Asturias hospital in the provincial capital of Jolo, and were set to be airlifted to the Camp Navarro hospital at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

“We believe that the Abu Sayyaf suffered many casualties in the encounter,” Torres told reporters.

The Abu Sayyaf is allegedly providing sanctuary in Sulu to two Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants, Umar Patek and Dulmatin, who are both wanted over the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 200 people.

Fierce clashes in Sulu, and in neighboring Basilan have so far left 62 soldiers and dozens of bandits killed and scores of others wounded.

US-backed offensives that started in 2002 have severely set back the Abu Sayyaf, notorious for kidnappings, beheadings of hostages and bomb attacks. Its elusive leader, Khadaffy Janjalani, was killed by marines on Jolo last year.

The Abu Sayyaf currently has more than 300 armed members scattered on Jolo and nearby Basilan Island, from a peak of more than 1,000 in early 2000, the military says.

With a report from Associated Press; Originally posted at 9:16am

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-11-07T05:27:50+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Wed, 07 Nov 2007 05:27:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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