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Archive for April 15th, 2008

Defiant Magdalos to plead guilty ‘when hell freezes over’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 18:05:00 04/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The defiant faction of the Magdalo group, led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, has no plans to plead guilty to charges lodged against them before civilian and military courts, unlike their estranged comrades, their lawyers said.

But Trillanes “does not begrudge” the group of Army Captain Gerardo Gambala for changing their pleas and appealing for presidential pardon, since this could be their ticket out of detention, lawyer Reynaldo Robles said.

“The senator has no plans to do that [plead guilty]. His convictions have not changed. Corruption in government persists, it has even worsened,” Robles said in a phone interview with reporters.

“Categorically, no. Never. When hell freezes over. Is the pope protestant?” Faeldon’s counsel, Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a text message, when asked if her client would reverse his not guilty plea on charges of coup d’etat.

“There’s always a danger of acquittal, so right now, no,” said lawyer Theodore Te, who represents several of the accused, including Air Force Captain Segundino Orfiano and First Lieutenant Francisco Ashley Acedillo.

Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant, and Faeldon are among the leaders of a faction of the Magdalo group that continues to defy President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Gambala and Army Captain Milo Maestrecampo, meanwhile, lead the faction that has reaffirmed allegiance to Arroyo’s government.

Last April 8, the Makati regional trial court sentenced Gambala and Maestrecampo to life imprisonment and seven other junior officers to up to 12 years in jail, after they reversed their not guilty pleas to a coup d’etat charge.

The charge stemmed from the siege of some 300 junior officers and enlisted men on the former Oakwood luxury apartments in the Makati financial district on July 27, 2003, to protest alleged corruption in government.

Twenty-nine leaders of the failed uprising were charged with coup d’etat before the Makati regional trial court branch 148 and for violation of Article of War 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) before a court martial.

“The senator does not begrudge them [Gambala’s group] for their actions. They have been detained for five years,” Robles said.

“While the senator does not agree with what they did, he will not block their move, especially if it will be for their freedom,” he added.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said he would not advise Trillanes on whether or not he should plead guilty to the charges leveled against him.

“I will not intrude into the attorney-client relationship of Senator Trillanes and his lawyer,” Teodoro told reporters.

The defense chief said the reversal of plea of Gambala’s group was unlikely to affect Trillanes’ case.

“Technically it will not, because this is a guilty plea of the nine officers based on their own participation in the coup d’etat. Now, so far as Senator Trillanes is concerned, there is evidence against him and he has his own defenses and the court will decide on the basis of that,” Teodoro said.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002008-04-15T11:50:01+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Tue, 15 Apr 2008 11:50:01 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Soldier, 2 alleged NPA rebels killed in Quezon clash

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:09:00 04/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Two suspected communist insurgents and an Army soldier were killed in an encounter between rebel and government forces in Quezon province on Tuesday, a regional military spokesman said.

The encounter in Pagsanghan village, General Nakar town also left two civilians, an Army soldier, and a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel wounded, said Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).

An NPA guerilla was also captured, Cabangbang said in a text message to reporters.

The encounter happened at around 1:30 p.m. in sitio (sub-village) Macala, when a platoon from the 16th Infantry Battalion engaged about 20 NPA rebels. An army platoon has 21 personnel, the spokesman said.

An M16 rifle and an M653 rifle were recovered from the scene of the encounter, he said.

Military estimates at the end of 2007 placed the strength of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), at around 5,700.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has given government security forces until 2010 to defeat the NPA, which has been waging a guerilla war from the countryside for 39 years.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002008-04-15T08:32:18+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Tue, 15 Apr 2008 08:32:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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