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AFP chief won’t meddle in trial of 2006 ‘plotters’

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Accused officers welcome Yano assumption

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:40:00 05/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines –Armed Forces chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano said he would not meddle in the court martial trial of 28 Marine and Army Scout Ranger officers charged with mutiny for an alleged plot to mount a coup in February 2006.

The accused officers, in turn, welcomed Yano’s assumption as military chief, replacing their nemesis, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who retired on Monday.

“Let me assure that as the new chief of staff, I will respect and recognize the independence of the court…It is not apt for me to intervene with the results and proceedings,” Yano told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

The 28 officers have accused Esperon of meddling in their case after he approved the recommendations to have them brought before a court martial.

As chief of staff, the verdict of the court martial will be subject to Yano’s approval.

The most senior accused, ex-Marines commandant Major General Renato Miranda, said Yano’s assumption as military chief and convening authority of the court martial was a “very positive” development.

Miranda said he has not heard of Yano’s involvement in any controversy, unlike Esperon, who was linked to alleged cheating operations in the 2004 elections that supposedly propelled President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to a fresh six-year term.

The charges against the 28 officers stemmed from their alleged plan to lead soldiers in a withdrawal of support from Arroyo over the vote-rigging controversy.

“General Yano doesn’t have baggage. He comes clean, unlike the other,” another accused, Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin, said, referring to Esperon.

Brigadier General Danilo Lim, the former regiment commander of the Scout Rangers, also welcomed Yano’s assumption as chief of staff, saying: “Compared to the former chief of staff, most definitely.”

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-05-13T08:58:25+00:00UTC05bUTCTue, 13 May 2008 08:58:25 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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