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Esperon trades barbs with 2006 ‘plotters’

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:46:00 05/07/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Less than a week before his retirement, Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. continued to trade barbs with 28 officers facing court martial over an alleged plot to mount a coup in February 2006, saying the accused had failed in their “false dreams and aspirations.”

At the same time, Esperon rejected the call of rebel military officers for him to apologize for alleged “sins” he has committed against the public and the military organization.

In a statement posted on the http://sundalo.bravehost.com, the 28 officers said Esperon should “walk the talk and ask for forgiveness from the Filipino people and the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for prostituting the organization.”

“Only then would we consider giving him [Esperon] giving him pardon for the sins he has committed,” said the officers.

One of the accused, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Achilles Segumalian described Esperon’s 22-month tour of duty as military chief as a “failure” because he did not meet soldiers’ needs for housing and medical benefits.

“How is the morale of the AFP [under Esperon]? He [is] not only controversial, he is also questionable,” Segumalian said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of their court martial hearing for mutiny.

Sought for comment, Esperon gave a hearty laugh and said: “If I failed, that would be their measurement. We prevent others from bringing instability. If that is not a measure of success, I don’t know what is.”

“Do you really want the Armed Forces taking over this country? So who failed in their false dreams, misguided dreams and aspirations?” Esperon said.

On Tuesday, the 28 officers were arraigned on a mutiny charge before a court martial. Instead of pleading guilty or not guilty, they asked the court for 15 days to file a demurrer to dismiss the case.

The mutiny charge stemmed from an alleged plot to lead soldiers in a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo due to allegations that she cheated to win a fresh six-year mandate in the 2004 elections, allegedly with the help of military officials, including Esperon.

Esperon said he had nothing to apologize for and that it was the charged Scout Ranger and Marine officers who were guilty of sowing “much trouble” and “instability.”

The 28 officers include ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, ex-Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and Colonel Ariel Querubin.

“As Officers and Gentlemen, we are more than lenient and reconciliatory to our erring brothers in arms, especially Mister Esperon, provided they show sincere remorse, humbled themselves and face justice for the offenses they have committed,” the officers said.

Reacting to the accused officers’ call, Esperon said: “Why should I apologize? I will do the same, confine them if they do such things, we simply have to enforce the rules and regulations.”

“I don’t know if [it is] they [who] have to apologize for bringing in so much troubles, for the instability they caused, for doing their actions,” he added.

Esperon will relinquish his post on Monday to Army chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, who will be replaced by Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado.

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. rejected calls of rebellious military officers for him to apologize for alleged “sins” he has committed against the public.

Saying he had nothing to apologize for, Esperon said it was the 28 Scout Ranger and Marine officers facing court martial for allegedly plotting to mount a coup in February 2006 who are guilty of sowing “much trouble” and “instability.”

The charge stems from an alleged plot to lead soldiers in a mass withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo due to allegations that she cheated to win a fresh six-year mandate in the 2004 elections, allegedly with the help of military officials, including Esperon.

In a statement posted on the website http://sundalo.bravehost.com, the officers dared Esperon to “walk the talk and ask for forgiveness from the Filipino people and the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for prostituting the organization.”

“Only then would we consider giving him [Esperon] giving him pardon for the sins he has committed,” added the officers, 27 of whom were arraigned on Tuesday.

The 28 officers include ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, ex-Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and Colonel Ariel Querubin.

Miranda had been arraigned before the other officers.

“As Officers and Gentlemen, we are more than lenient and reconciliatory to our erring brothers in arms, especially Mister Esperon, provided they show sincere remorse, humbled themselves and face justice for the offenses they have committed,” the officers said.

Reacting to the accused officers’ call, Esperon said: “Why should I apologize? I will do the same, confine them if they do such things, we simply have to enforce the rules and regulations.”

“I don’t know if [it is] they [who] have to apologize for bringing in so much troubles, for the instability they caused, for doing their actions,” he added.

Esperon will relinquish his post on Monday to Army chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, who will be replaced by Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-05-07T09:05:32+00:00UTC05bUTCWed, 07 May 2008 09:05:32 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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