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Yano: Mayuga report to remain under wraps

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:14:00 05/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Wanting to start with a clean slate, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano said he sees no need to release a military board’s report clearing several generals of involvement in alleged massive election fraud in 2004.

Yano added that he has not even seen the report — nor is he interested in doing so — and does not know where it is. The report was prepared by retired vice admiral Mateo Mayuga, former AFP Inspector General and Philippine Navy chief.

“I don’t think I will have to uncover what has already been acted upon by my predecessor [retired general Hermogenes Esperon Jr]. [There is] no need for me,” Yano told reporters on Friday at Villamor Airbase, where he made his first official visit to Philippine Air Force headquarters since assuming the military leadership on May 12.

“I have not even opened it [report] so no need to close, as I said I have not seen that report and I don’t think there is interest for me to do it, I am starting anew,” Yano said.

Last Tuesday, Mayuga said he was leaving it up to the AFP leadership to decide what to do with his report. He also claimed to have forgotten details of the investigation.

Asked if he saw a need to declassify the report, Yano said: “I cannot say directly if I will, as I’ve said I haven’t even seen it and I don’t know the status of that report right now, where is it now, or who has the authority [to decide what to do with it].”

“As I’ve said this has been acted upon by the previous leadership so I don’t think there’s a need for it, to revive whatever is the content,” he said.

Esperon was one of the four generals cleared by the Mayuga board, which conducted an investigation after the officers’ names were mentioned in purported wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ex-elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who allegedly discussed rigging the 2004 elections in her favor.

Esperon and two other now retired generals — Roy Kyamko and Gabriel Habacon — allegedly helped rig the vote in Arroyo’s favor, according to the wiretaps.

During the election period, Esperon was deputy chief of staff for operations or J3 and deputy commander of Task Force HOPE (honest, orderly, and peaceful elections), Kyamko was chief of the Southern Command (Southcom), and Habacon was chief of the 1st Infantry Division operating in the southwest.

The fourth officer, retired brigadier general Francsico Gudani, was relieved as commander of the 1st Marine Brigade several days after the May 14 elections for allegedly supporting Arroyo’s chief rival, actor Fernando Poe Jr., who died seven months after the bitterly contested vote.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-05-23T04:46:32+00:00UTC05bUTCFri, 23 May 2008 04:46:32 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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