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Archive for November 16th, 2007

Outbursts from coup suspects mar mutiny hearing

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:52pm (Mla time) 11/16/2007

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Several outbursts marred Friday’s mutiny hearing for 28 military officers linked to the foiled coup in February 2006, with the accused angered over the handling of the proceedings.

The accused were angered by the military court’s decision to deny First Lieutenant Homer Estolas’ petition to exercise his right to peremptory challenge.

The lead perosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Jose Feliciano Loy, claimed that Estolas said in the last hearing that he had used his right to peremptory challenge.

Estolas denied this, saying, it was First Lieutenant Sandro Sereno who made that statement.

Addressing Loy, Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin said: “Come here, you liar.”

Then Querubin motioned to Sereno, saying: “Show them your face.”

After he calmed down and took his seat, Querubin said: “Ginagago na nga tayo tatakutin pa tayo [They are already making fools of us, and now they will even scare us].”

A peremptory challenge is the right of the accused before arraignment to eject any member of the military court without laying the grounds.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Achilles Segumalian told Loy: “You’re brave only when you talk, but you have no balls.”

One of the accused was overheard as saying, “This is just like the elections, they don’t know how to count.”

After a brief recess, the court president, Major General Jogy Leo Fojas told the accused: “You are ordered to observe proper decorum when inside the court.”

He also warned them of “appropriate sanctions” should the officers violate his order.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-11-16T10:22:58+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:22:58 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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Esperon liable for ‘breach of discipline’–coup suspects

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 12:54pm (Mla time) 11/16/2007

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — The 28 officers facing court martial for mutiny over the foiled coup in February 2006 turned the tables on Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., saying he was the one who could be held liable for “breach of discipline.”

The officers cited Esperon’s alleged involvement in cheating operations that propelled President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to a fresh six-year term in 2004. Esperon has denied the allegations.

Earlier this week, Esperon said the accused officers could be cited for “breach of discipline” when they walked out on their mutiny hearing here last week.

“Mister Esperon, your so-called breach of discipline started in 2004. Only an undisciplined officer would allow himself to be used for cheating,” the 19 Scout Ranger and nine Marine officers said in a statement on Friday.

The walkout was sparked by the decision of the court and military prosecutors to continue with the trial despite the absence of Esperon’s signature on the pre-trial advice (PTA), a document that recommended charging the group with mutiny, overturning findings by pre-trial investigators, who had proposed only lesser charges.

“And now you accuse us of breach of discipline? Is refusal to follow an illegal order a breach of discipline, Mister Esperon?” the officers asked, adding, “You don’t even have the guts to sign your own PTA, and now you say we breached the limits of discipline?”

Tension gripped the resumption of the trial here on Friday as several defense lawyers made good of their threat to boycott the proceedings until Esperon signed the PTA.

The accused refused to stand up when ordered by the court, as Major General Jogy Leo Fojas, the panel president, swore in one of the panel members, who was absent during the last hearing.

The lead prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Jose Feliciano Loy, asked the court to put on record the accused officers’ refusal to stand up.

Defense counsel Robert Gallos asked the court to allow First Lieutenant Homer Estolas from the Scout Rangers to enter his peremptory challenge, a privilege of the accused wherein he could eject any member of the military court, without laying the grounds, at any time before his arraignment.

Estolas then stood up and addressed the court, saying, “I was not asked. My name was not mentioned. I have not challenged anyone from the court.”

But Loy opposed, saying that based on the transcript of last week’s hearing, Estolas said he has exercised his right to peremptory challenge.

An irked Estolas raised his hand, seeking to answer Loy, but the court did not recognize him. When he stood up, a military policeman motioned him to sit down.

After Estolas took to his seat, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Achilles Segumalian stood up and confronted the said guard, “Why did you stop him?”

Fojas then ordered a recess to decide whether Estolas should be allowed to enter a peremptory challenge.

As the accused made their way out of the courtroom, Segumalian said out loud: “Colonel Loy, sinungaling [liar].”

Loy asked the court to put Segumalian’s outburst on record, but defense counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles opposed, saying it could not be done since the court was on recess.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-11-16T10:22:23+00:00+00:0011b+00:00Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:22:23 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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