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Archive for April 24th, 2008

2 suspected NPA fighters slain in Bulacan clash

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 15:34:00 04/24/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Two suspected communist rebels were killed in an encounter with elite Army troops in Bulacan province on Wednesday, a military official said.

The bodies of the two dead rebels were recovered from the scene of the encounter between a platoon from the 18th Special Forces Company and around seven New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in a coastal hamlet of Taliptip village, Meycauayan town at around 4 p.m., said Brigadier General Arturo Ortiz, chief of the Special Forces Regiment.

The dead were identified as Marlon Verano, a logistics officer, and a certain Palo, Ortiz said in a text message to reporters on Thursday. A submachine gun and a .38-caliber pistol were also recovered.

The government troops suffered no casualties.

At the end of the first quarter of 2008, the military estimated the strength of the NPA at 5,470, down from 5,761 in the previous quarter, Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in his quarterly internal security briefing on Wednesday.

Incidentally, Esperon said Bulacan was among provinces where troops have dismantled guerilla fronts.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has given security forces until 2010 to deal a “strategic defeat” to the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a guerilla campaign from the countryside for close to 40 years.

Marj Garces, Contributor

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-04-24T08:05:18+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Thu, 24 Apr 2008 08:05:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Military official found dead in Taguig

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By Joel Guinto, Thea Alberto
First Posted 12:16:00 04/24/2008

MANILA, Philippines — An Army colonel was found dead, with a gunshot wound to his forehead, inside his quarters in Fort Bonifacio on Thursday morning, military and police authorities said.

A neighbor discovered the body of Colonel Roberto Caldeo in his living room at AOC-6, door 5, PMMA East Side Housing, said Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., spokesman for the Philippine Army, and Chief Superintendent Luizo Ticman, Southern Police District.

Torres said Caldeo was found at 8:30 a.m. although Ticman said in an earlier report that the victim was discovered at 10:30 a.m.

A handgun was recovered on the scene.

Both Torres and Ticman said it was not clear whether Caldeo committed suicide or whether there was foul play.

“We cannot say yet what happened,” Torres said, adding the Army will also investigate the case, on top of a police investigation, since the incident happened inside camp.

“Tinitignan natin lahat ng anggulo but the initial report ay alleged suicide [We are looking at all angles but the initial report is alleged suicide],” said Ticman in a separate phone interview.

Ticman said later that a suicide note aside from the gun was found by Scene of the Crime Operatives.

The 48-year-old Caldeo is currently assigned as staff officer at the Command and General Staff College at military general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Torres said.

Caldeo was a trained member of the elite Scout Rangers and Special Forces in the Philippine Army. Prior to his current posting, he was assigned in Mindanao as commander of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion and the 33rd Infantry Battalion, Torres said.

“He is a warrior-officer,” Torres said.

Colonel Ricardo Visaya, Caldeo’s classmate at the Philippine Military Academy’s 1983 class, described him as a “good officer.”

“He’s one of the best. He has good quality leadership,” Visaya said.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-04-24T05:20:38+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Thu, 24 Apr 2008 05:20:38 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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DND chief willing to step down if President wants him to

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 10:59:00 04/24/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. is willing to step down from his post if asked by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and for the meantime, is taking Malacañang’s word that there is no Cabinet revamp for now.

Teodoro issued the statement Thursday in response to reports that Military Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. would take over the Department of National Defense after he retires on May 9 and that he would be moved to another Cabinet office.

“Kami ay nakahanda anytime kailangan kaming bumitaw or kung kinakailangan na ibang tao ang sa tingin ng ating Pangulo na pumalit sa atin [We are prepared anytime, when we are required to step down or if the President thinks we should be replaced],” Teodoro told radio station dzBB.

“We are all prepared. That is part of our duty as a Cabinet member,” he added.

Asked if he was secured in his post, Teodoro, who has been DND chief for eight months, said: “Based on what Secretary Bunye said.”

Teodoro was referring to the statement of Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye that a Cabinet reshuffle would not be on the horizon.

“My focus is on doing my job,” he said.

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Thu+00:002008-04-24T05:19:08+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Thu, 24 Apr 2008 05:19:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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