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Ocampo gets flashback as he visits ‘coup plotters’ at ISAFP

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:37:00 06/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo got flashbacks of his days in military detention when he inspected the cells of six Marine and Scout Ranger officers linked to an alleged February 2006 coup plot.

Ocampo joined Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Leila de Lima and other members of the House committee on human rights, of which he is a member, in checking the detention cells at the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) compound in Camp Aguinaldo last Wednesday.

Ocampo, a former spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF), spent years in detention under the Marcos dictatorship and the Aquino administration, some of them at the Intelligence Service Group (ISG) in Fort Bonifacio, the Philippine Army headquarters.

“I am familiar with the place. There’s a narrow cell and a really high wall,” Ocampo said, noting the similarities between the ISAFP and ISG detention centers.

“There was a small window where they slipped my food. I also remember being blindfolded and when I had visitors, I was made to walk twice around the compound blindfolded before I can meet them,” he said.

Ocampo said Miranda and Querubin jokingly kept on making references to his own detention inside military camps during the meeting that lasted nearly three hours.

“They said I was familiar with that kind of living condition,” Ocampo chuckled.

The six officers detained at the ISAFP are: from the Marines, Major General Renato Miranda, Colonels Ariel Querubin and Orlando de Leon and Lieutenant Colonel Achilles Segumalian; and from the Scout Rangers, Lieutenant Colonel Edmundo Malabanjot and Major Jason Aquino from the Army Scout Rangers.

Ocampo said he practically shared the same experience during his detention at the ISG as Aquino, who used to be jailed there, and Army Captain Dante Langkit, who is still held at the Fort Bonifacio facility.

During the dictatorship, Ocampo spent nine months in solitary confinement.

Langkit and Aquino were also kept in solitary for months. And Ocampo said a certain Sergeant Bossi remains in solitary confinements at the ISAFP.

Ocampo said Aquino told him how, on one occasion, his blindfold was removed in front of his family.

“The impact of it was traumatizing for his wife and children,” the lawmaker said.

Ocampo described Aquino as an “outspoken and assertive” officer who believes that “his colleagues were soldiers of the people and not of Malacañang.”

The leftist solon stressed that human rights applied to all, including members of the military. He expressed support for his committee’s plan to review the Articles of War that govern the AFP.

“There could be abuse in the implementation [of the Articles of War]. The [detained]officers said there’s a need to revise it, not for them but so that their fellow soldiers would not suffer the same fate,” Ocampo said.

Asked if he gave any advice to the detained military officers, Ocampo again chuckled.

“I didn’t have to. They are a determined group,” he said.

The detainees detained at the ISAFP are among 28 facing court martial for mutiny over the alleged 2006 coup plot.

Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim is detained at police headquarters in Camp Crame along with junior officers from the Magdalo group for the November 29 occupation of the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

The rest are detained at an Army camp in Tanay town, Rizal province.

Nikko Dizon, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002008-06-27T09:42:02+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Fri, 27 Jun 2008 09:42:02 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

Posted in Uncategorized

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