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Army chief forms court to try general for graft

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:03:00 06/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Army chief Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado has constituted a nine-member court to try a two-star general and a sergeant for alleged graft.

The commander of the elite Army Special Operations Command (Socom), Major General Daniel Casabar, was appointed president of the court martial panel, Ibrado told reporters on Monday.

The charges against Major General Jose Barbieto and Staff Sergeant Roseller Echipare stemmed from allegations they extorted money from recruits when Barbieto was chief of the 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro City.

They were charged for violation of Articles of War 55 (making unlawful enlistment) and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline). Since he is an officer, Barbieto was also charged for violation of Article of War 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman).

Ibrado said he instructed Casabar to “expedite the trial and avoid delays.”

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano said the Barbieto case showed that the military leadership’s anti-corruption drive is not mere “lip service.”

“We have concrete actions to prove that we want corruption and similar malpractices to be out of the organization,” Yano said in a speech last week at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

Barbieto is the second two-star general, after Major General Carlos Garcia, to be tried by court martial on corruption charges.

In December 2005, a court martial convicted Garcia for violation of AW 96 and 97, and he was sentenced to jail time, hard labor, and forfeiture of his retirement benefits. A plunder charge is pending before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-06-09T06:23:31+00:00UTC06bUTCMon, 09 Jun 2008 06:23:31 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

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