Deadline all the time

breaking news stories, photos, and video

Archive for June 2nd, 2008

New AFP Metro chief vows to intensify intelligence work

leave a comment »

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 18:56:00 06/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The new commander of the military’s Metro Manila force vowed to intensify intelligence work against leftist, rightist, and terrorist groups, as he assumed his post on Monday.

Major General Arsenio Arugay took over as National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) from Major General Fernando Mesa, who retired from the military service, during turnover ceremonies at the NCRCom grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo.

With threats from rightist groups “greatly diminished,” Arugay said the terrorists posed the biggest threat to the capital, though their plans have been thwarted by the arrest of several foreign suspects earlier this year.

“I intend to further enhance our intelligence and counterintelligence efforts to pinpoint the real and actual enemies,” Arugay said in his assumption speech.

In a later interview, Arugay identified the “enemies” that are “threats to stability and security” in the capital as the communist New People’s Army (NPA), military rebels, and Islamic extremist groups.

Arugay came fresh off his stint as chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza, the outgoing Presidential Security Group (PSG), will take over as ISAFP chief on Thursday.

Under Mesa’s watch, the NCRCom secured the capital during the siege of the Magdalo group of rebel junior officers, led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, on the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City on November 29, 2007 to press for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation on corruption and
vote-rigging charges.

Mesa also oversaw contingency preparations amid huge anti-government rallies during the first quarter of this year, triggered by allegations of massive fraud surrounding the botched $329-million national broadband project of the government with China’s ZTE Corp.

Containing the power grab threats, Mesa said, was what he considered as his most significant achievement during his tour of duty as NCRCom chief.

The NCRCom was activated primarily as an anti-coup force after the Magdalo-led siege on the former Oakwood luxury apartments in Makati on July 27, 2003.

During the term of Mesa’s predecessor, Major General Ben Dolorfino, the command engaged in civic action projects in slum areas to thwart the alleged recruitment activities of the NPA.

Arugay vowed to pursue the civic action efforts, in tandem with intelligence work.

He debunked observations that the military assault that ended the Manila Peninsula Hotel, which involved tanks and military and police commandos, was an overkill.

“There is no such thing as an overkill. You cannot apply equal force [as the opponent]. You should defeat the enemy,” Arugay said, adding, “You have to be at an advantage position.”

Arugay said the prosecution of military rebels before the courts showed that “you cant get away with offenses [such as] military adventurism.”

View article as posted on

Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002008-06-02T16:43:24+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Mon, 02 Jun 2008 16:43:24 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm06

Posted in Uncategorized

Yano welcomes trailblazing Filipino West Pointers

leave a comment »

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:46:00 06/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano welcomed to active service two Filipinos who made history when they graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Christy Isis Achanzar is the first Filipina to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree from the American military school while Mario Feliciano is the highest-ranked international cadet to emerge from West Point, according to a newspaper report.

Achanzar and Feliciano were presented with their commissions as second lieutenants in the Philippine Army during graduation rites in New York over the weekend.

“We are happy to welcome them to the folds of the active service of the Armed Forces,” Yano told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo, as he praised the two for their “outstanding performance” at West Point.

“We look forward to their serving in the Philippine Army. We are happy that they have very outstanding credentials,” he added.

Achanzar and Feliciano join other Filipino West Point graduates, including former president Fidel Ramos, former AFP chief of staff Narciso Abaya, and Brigadier General Danilo Lim, one of the 28 officers on trial for mutiny before a court martial over an alleged coup plot in February 2006.

View article as posted on

Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002008-06-02T16:42:20+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Mon, 02 Jun 2008 16:42:20 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm06

Posted in Uncategorized

US military chief reiterates support for AFP

leave a comment »

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:10:00 06/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The highest official of the United States military reiterated his country’s support for the Philippines’ counterterrorism and modernization efforts, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano said.

Yano and his staff met in his Camp Aguinaldo office with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for 30 minutes on Monday. It was the second time the top US military official visited the Philippines.

“[We discussed] the support and assistance of the armed forces and government of the United States [for] our armed forces, particularly in capability upgrade and modernization, and our war against terror,” Yano told reporters after the closed-door meeting.

“Just [to] sustain what they [US military] have started. There [was] some assistance in terms of funds, but there is nothing new, and of course technical support,” he added.

Also present at the meeting were the AFP major service commanders, the Army’s Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado, and Navy chief Vice Admiral Rogelio Calunsag.

Yano said Mullen’s visit “manifests the importance of robust RP-US relationship that has spanned several years.”

The AFP chief said he accompanied Mullen to the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in Zamboanga City Sunday to call regional military commander Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga.

But the Thursday bomb attack in the southern city, which killed two people and wounded scores others, was not discussed, Yano said. He described the incident as “too small” a topic for Mullen.

Mullen also did not update the AFP on the progress of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing on the alleged remains of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) explosives expert Dulmatin, a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings, who the local military believes was killed in an encounter in Tawi-Tawi province in late January this year.

View article as posted on

Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002008-06-02T16:40:54+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Mon, 02 Jun 2008 16:40:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm06

Posted in Uncategorized