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Army: General, NCO in extort raps restricted until judgment

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:47:00 03/31/2008

MANILA, Philippines — An Army general and his subordinate facing court martial proceedings for allegedly extorting from soldier-applicant soldiers have been restricted to quarters in Fort Bonifacio and will there until their cases are resolved, a spokesman for the service branch said.

At the same time, the Army cancelled the appointments of 184 soldiers for “irregular” entry into the service, allegedly with the help of the accused, Major General Jose Barbieto and Staff Sergeant Roseller Echipare, Army public affairs chief, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., said.

Of the 184, 97 were undergoing training at the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City, while 87 were recently enlisted as privates, Torres said.

“The conduct of the pre-trial investigation, which normally precedes a general court martial, necessitates that those accused be arrested and confined,” Torres said in a statement.

“The restriction shall take effect until such time that their cases are resolved,” Torres said.

Upon orders of Army chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, Barbieto and Echipare were “confined and restricted in quarters” and placed under the custody of Fort Bonifacio camp commander Brigadier General Ricardo Morales, Torres said.

Barbieto was restricted a month after the Army started its investigation into the graft allegations against him. He was relieved as commander of the 4th Infantry Division after he was suspended by the Ombudsman.

“The Philippine Army is serious in implementing reforms within the organization. Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, Philippine Army commanding general, assured that there will be no whitewash and cover up, and due process will always be observed,” Torres said.

Barbieto and Echipare could be charged for violation of Articles of War 55 (officer making unlawful enlistment), 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman), and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline), the Army spokesman said.

Barbieto is the second major general, after retired general Carlos Garcia, to face court martial for alleged corruption.

Garcia, a former military comptroller, was convicted by a court martial in December 2006 and sentenced to imprisonment, hard labor, and forfeiture of his retirement benefits.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-03-31T06:28:38+00:00UTC03bUTCMon, 31 Mar 2008 06:28:38 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

Posted in Uncategorized

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