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Quiet rebel officers must have realized ‘fair deal’–Yano

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:37:00 07/17/2008

MANILA, Philippines — If nothing much is heard of the officers who joined the foiled coup plots in 2003 and 2006, it is because they have “realized” that they have been given a “fair deal,” said Armed Forces Chief Alexander Yano Thursday.

But Yano refused to take credit, saying, “I’m not really sure if I’m part of the equation.”

“I think they also realize that they were given a fair deal, although charged, the justice system is grinding,” Yano said in an interview with reporters late Wednesday evening.

Since Yano assumed the top military post in May, detained rebel soldiers have not issued statements critical of him, or the government, unlike in the term of his predecessor, retired General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who constantly traded barbs with the detained officers.

Two groups are on trial before military courts: the junior officers who call themselves the Magdalo that seized the Oakwood luxury apartments in Makati City on July 27, 2003; and the 28 Army Scout Ranger and Marine officers who allegedly planned to withdraw support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February 2006.

Also under Yano, 11 leaders of the Magdalo reversed their not guilty pleas. They were sentenced last week to be discharged from the service.

These junior officers belong to the faction of the Magdalo that had defied government. They were also involved in the siege on the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City last Nov. 29, 2007, to pressure Arroyo to resign.

In an interview last May 13, four days after Yano took over from Esperon, the most senior accused in the 2006 case, ex-Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, said Yano’s assumption was a “positive development.”

As chief of staff, any verdict will require Yano’s approval.

Miranda’s group had clashed with Esperon, whom they accused of pushing for their prosecution without sufficient evidence. They also criticized Esperon for his alleged involvement in supposed cheating operations that propelled Arroyo to victory in the 2004 elections.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-07-17T04:53:17+00:00UTC07bUTCThu, 17 Jul 2008 04:53:17 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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