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Archive for April 13th, 2008

Teodoro, Esperon ask Arroyo to pardon 9 junior officers

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:16:00 04/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines–Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. have recommended to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the granting of pardon to nine junior officers who were convicted of coup d’etat over the short-lived Oakwood muitny in 2003.

In a statement, Teodoro said there was “sufficient reasons” to grant pardon to the nine Magdalo rebels. He said such a move would be a step towards national unity and reconciliation

And if the government could grant amnesty to communist rebels and talk peace with Muslim separatists, Teodoro said: “I believe it is equally important in achieving national peace to reach out to these convicted junior officers who have shown remorse for their illegal acts and expressed desire to return to the folds of law.”

In a phone interview with reporters, Esperon said the recommendation to pardon Captains Gerardo Gambala, Milo Maestrecampo, John Andres, Albert Baloloy, Alvin Ebreo, and Lawrence Louis Somera, First Lieutenants Cleo Donga-as, and Florentino Somera, Jr., and Second Lieutenant Kristopher Bryan Yasay was forwarded to the Palace on Sunday.

The nine officers are among the core leaders of the 300-strong Magdalo, who siezed the Oakwood luxury apartments on July 27, 2003 to protest alleged corruption in government.

Last April 8, after reversing their not guilty pleas to the charge of coup d’etat, the nine were sentenced to 12-40 years in prison by branch 148 of the Makati regional trial court.

Asked if a pardon for the former rebels would send a wrong signal to the troops, Esperon said: “Yes, but they have been in jail for almost five years, they have shown remorse.”

Esperon said it was “hard” to quantify if the five years the rebels had served in detention was enough punishment for their actions.

“But I believe they have shown remorse, they have said that military adventurism is no way to achieve reforms and changes so we have drawn lessons from that, we are learning from that,” he said.

“So we hope that that will be heard by all other officers and men, [the nine officers said] our act is not something that could be emulated,” he said.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002008-04-13T10:56:11+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Sun, 13 Apr 2008 10:56:11 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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