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Accused officers: Esperon ‘brought shame’ to military

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:16:00 04/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has performed “below par” and “brought shame” to the military establishment, officers accused of plotting an alleged February 2006 coup attempt said Friday.

“No one has brought more shame to the institution. [Esperon is] the pimp in the prostitution of the military establishment,” former Scout Rangers commander Brigadier General Danilo Lim said on the sidelines of a court martial hearing of mutiny charges he and 27 other officers are facing for the alleged 2006 plot..

“He performed below par. Most of his time was spent containing us, but still he wasn’t able to achieve his objectives. He wasn’t able to meet his goals set in his counterinsurgency campaign,” Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin said at the same hearing.

On Wednesday, Esperon announced that the military was short of its target to dismantle 17 communist guerilla fronts in the first quarter of 2008, dismantling only eight, though he said 10 fronts were “downgraded” while 13 others were in advanced stage of degradation.

Reached for comment, Esperon said in a text message: “Let us not dignify the statement of a megalomaniac destabilizer who thinks he is the savior of the Philippines.”

Taking a swipe at Lim and Querubin, Esperon said praise was due the common soldier who “continue risking their lives and accomplish more that self-proclaimed heroes.”

“They [soldiers] never think that only they can be good. They remain humble and keep on soldiering,” said the military chief who will retire on May 9 and be replaced by Army commander Lieutenant General Alexander Yano.

The court martial adjourned early due to a lack of quorum. Only four members were present when least five of the seven-member court should be present to constitute a quorum.

Lim and Querubin are accused of planning to lead soldiers in a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by joining street protests on February 24, 2006, 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

Arroyo has been accused of cheating her way to victory in the 2004 elections with the help of senior military officials, including Esperon.

During Friday’s hearing, Lieutenant Colonel Jose Feliciano Loy, one of the military prosecutors, said the special plea of the highest-ranked accused, Major General Renato Miranda, to drop the charges due to a “nolle prosequi” (prosecution application to discontinue charges) to lack of evidence had been dropped.

Citing results of a review of the case, Loy said: “Unfortunately, all the accused have one way or another participated in the charge.”

But Loy assured the accused that during the course of the hearing, when no evidence is found against any of them, the prosecution would “not hesitate a minute longer” to file a “nolle prosequi.”

Loy said the prosecution had “10 to 20” witnesses, including Esperon, who was the Army commander in 2006.

“I want him [Esperon] to be the first witness. If you present him, I want to be the first to examine him,” defense counsel Homobono Adaza said.

To which, Loy replied, “no problem.”

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-04-25T09:10:06+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 25 Apr 2008 09:10:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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