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Bisaya Bloggers » General Hermogenes Esperon

Jan 27 2008

Retiring Philippine Military Chief Gets 3 More Months

Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon is flanked by reporters. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 28, 2008) – Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo has extended the term of Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon for three months so he can continue operations against terrorism.

Arroyo made the announcement during her visit in Switzerland. Esperon is due to retire February 9 at age 56. He vowed to crush the Abu Sayyaf and New People’s Army rebels before his mandatory retirement.

Esperon’s extension has been welcomed by soldiers and Sulu provincial officials, led by Governor Sakur Tan, saying, he has done a good job as Philippine military chief and drastically cut threats of terrorism.

Nov 29 2007

Crush Uprising! RP Military Chief Tells Troops

Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon, who is visiting troops in Zamboanga City in Mindanao island, speaks on his mobile phones Thursday Nov. 30, 2007 after a group of soldiers led by Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes and hundreds of civilian supporters headed by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona marched in Manila and called on the military to withdraw its support from President Gloria Arroyo. Trillanes and Lim, who previously accused Arroyo of corruption and cheating in the May 2004 elections, are facing coup d’etat charges following a failed coup attempt in February 2006. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 29, 2007) – Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon vowed Thursday to crush an uprising in Manila.

Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes and Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim led a group of soldiers and civilian supporters to a long march that ended in the posh Manila Peninsula hotel in Makati where they called for Arroyo’s resignation.

Among those who joined Trillanes and Lim was former Philippine Vice President Teofisto Guingona and leaders of civil society groups opposed to Arroyo’s rule.

Both Trillanes and Lim were implicated in previous attempt to oust Arroyo, who they accused of corruption and fraud in the May 2004 elections.

“We are trying to make plans here. I want to appeal for calmness and for the public not to allow to be hoodwinked by these people, Trillanes and Lim. We must not allow them to grab power,” Esperon said.

Esperon was in Zamboanga City visiting troops when news of the uprising broke out in a middle of meeting at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters.

Trillanes and Lim have urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to withdraw its support from the Arroyo administration.

Esperon said the military is control of the situation and ordered security forces to resolve the situation without bloodshed.

“There is a confrontational effort and I have given instructions to ground commanders to address the situation without bloodshed, but if situation arises we will do what is necessary. We intend to terminate this situation as soon as possible,” he said.

“Rest assured we are in full control of the situation. Just be calm about it and we should be able to resolve this situation. It is something we can address.”

Esperon said the AFP is solid behind Arroyo and would not allow the uprising to continue. He said the military has been put in red alert and warned soldiers not to support Trillanes and Lim.

“There is no need to conduct loyalty check among troops. I am in constant touch with senior commanders. I salute the solidarity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We are intact and ready to enforce legal actions to address the situation in Makati,” he said.

Government spokesmen also taunted Guingona, saying, he was too frail to be jailed.

Guingona is one or Arroyo’s most vocal critic and had previously joined protest rallies in Manila. (Mindanao Examiner)

Aug 12 2007

New RP Defense Chief Visits Troops In Frontlines Of War In Volatile South





Philippines Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro arrives in Zamboanga City and is escorted by Western Mindanao military commander Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo. Teodoro is accompanied by Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and inspected troops in Jolo and Basilan islands and visited wounded soldiers in Zamboanga City. Esperon has odered troops to intensify the hunt for terrorists in the troubled southern region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 12 Aug) – New Philippines Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro inspected troops Sunday in two southern islands where security forces are battling Abu Sayyaf militants tied to al-Qaeda, blamed for the killing of dozens of soldiers.

Teodoro, who assumed his post on Wednesday, flew to Jolo island with Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and several army generals on a military transport plane.

They were briefed by local military commanders about the progress of government offensives against the terrorists in Jolo, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

Hundreds of U.S. troops are also stationed on the island and helping Filipino forces defeat terrorism.

Teodoro spoke briefly with soldiers. About 5,000 troops are in Jolo and hunting down hundreds of militants and Moro National Liberation Front rebels, blamed for the killing of 26 army soldiers in fierce clashes since Wednesday.

From Jolo island, the group flew by choppers to nearby island of Basilan, where some 4,000 are also pursuing a faction of the Abu Sayyaf and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, implicated in the beheading of ten of 14 Marines in daylong clashes July 10.

Marines Col. Ramiro Alivio, the island’s military chief, also briefed Teodoro’s group about the hunt for some 130 mostly MILF rebels and Abu Sayyaf militants tagged as behind the grisly killing.

Esperon has ordered troops to intensify their hunt for the terrorists and their allies in the two islands.

“There will be no letup in the pursuit operations. The hunt for the terrorists and their allies will continue until they are neutralized,” he told the Mindanao Examiner in Zamboanga City, where they visited and pinned medals to more than a dozen wounded soldiers.

After visiting the soldiers at a military hospital, Esperon and Teodoro comforted family members and relatives of slain soldiers whose flag-draped caskets were flown to Manila late Sunday afternoon.

The fighting in Jolo and Basilan has already displaced more than 20,000 people and is also threatening the government peace talks with the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group.

The MILF denied beheading the soldiers and pointed to the Abu Sayyaf instead, although it admitted killing the Marines in fierce clashes after they entered a rebel stronghold in Al-Barka town.

Esperon said talks are underway to prevent further involvement of the MILF rebels in the ongoing punitive actions in Basilan island.

«There are ongoing talks about that, to put the MILF in one place,” he said.

President Gloria Arroyo has earlier ordered the military to pursue offensive operation against those behind the killing of the soldiers in Basilan and Jolo island.

“The military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf must continue, not as an act of vengeance but as a strategy to win the peace,” Arroyo said. “We cannot allow terrorists to hold the South hostage to their agenda of mayhem and blood sport.”

She also ordered Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, the chief of the army, to lead the operation in the volatile region. Tolentino arrived in Zamboanga City on Sunday.

”I expect General Tolentino, considered as a soldier’s soldier, not just to orchestrate punitive actions against those who wantonly maim and kill, but also to evaluate peaceful overtures of those who will demonstrate remorse,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo commended the bravery of the soldiers “even as we grieve for those who offered their lives in the line of duty, while pursuing our quest for peace and justice.”

”There can be no letup in our fight against terror. The Abu Sayyaf deserves condemnation for its acts of violence that have stalled peace and progress in the southern Philippines.” (Mindanao Examiner)

Jul 13 2007

Peace Talks Sa MILF, Namimiligro Na Dahil Sa Basilan Clash!

Si Philippine Marines chief Maj. Gen. Nelson Allaga habang nakatitig sa labi ng mga sundalong napatay ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front sa Basilan province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

BASILAN (Mindanao Examiner / 13 Jul) – Nagmatigas kahapon ang pamahalaan na dapat pagbayaran ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at Abu Sayyaf ang pagpatay sa 14 na sundalo sa lalawigan ng Basilan.

Sampu sa mga napatay ay pinugutan ng ulo at ang iba naman ay tinanggalan pa ng ari ng mga rebeldeng MILF at militanteng Abu Sayyaf sa labanan nanaganap nuong nakaraang Martes sa bayan ng Al-Barka.

Naunang ipinahayag ng militar na handa itong tugisin ng militar ang mga Abu Sayyaf sa lalawigan ng Basilan kahit pa nasa lugar ito ng rebeldeng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Tiniyak naman kahapon ni acting Defense chief Norberto Gonzales na bibigyan ng aksyon ng pamahalaan ang naganap na karumaldumal na pagpaslang sa mga sundalo.

Kasalukuyang may peace talks ang pamahalaan sa MILF at anumang kaguluhan sa pagitan ng dalawang grupo ay posibleng makadiskaril sa paguusap.

“Hindi natin papayagan na hindi maparusahan yun gumawa ng ganoon,” ani pa ni Gonzales sa pahayag nito sa himpilang dzRH.

Sinabi ni Gonzales na bagamat importante ang peace process sa Mindanao ay dapat isaalang-alang ang batas ng bansa.

Halatang masama ang loob ni Gonzales habang nagbibigay ng pahayag dahil sa nasawing mga marines. Ibinunyag pa nitong miyembro rin siya ng Philippines Marines at isang reservist.

Tila hinamon pa ni Gonzales ang MILF ng sabihin nito sa radyo na: “Eh kung gusto nilang umatras eh di umatras sila (sa peace talks) pero sa ilalim ng batas ay dapat (silang) parusahan.”

Ito ay matapos na sabihin ng dzRH na dahil may peace talks ay hindi maaring ipanakot ito ng rebeldeng grupo.

Sinabi ni Gonzales na hindi lamang ambush ang ginawa ng MILF dahil pinugutan pa ng ulo ang mga sundalo.

“Nasa peace process tayo eh tapos aambusin ninyo ang mga sundalo. At hindi lang simpleng ambush ang ginawa at kita-kita naman ng lahat (sa television videos) ang nagyari at hindi naman natin pedeng payagan iyan,” ani Gonzales. “Hindi natin papayagan na yun mga nagkasala ay hindi paparusahan.”

Unang sinabi ni Philippine Marines chief, Maj. Gen. Nelson Allaga na hindi titigilan ng mga tropa ang grupong nasa likod ng pagpatay sa mga sundalo.

«Definitely, we will pursue the Abu Sayyaf wherever they are,» ani Allaga ng tanungin kung hahabulin ng mga tropa ang mga militante.

Ito rin ang sinabi sa Abante ni Western Mindanao chief Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo at hindi titigil ang militar sa pagtugis sa Abu Sayyaf.

Unang ibinintang ng militar sa Abu Sayyaf at MILF ang pagpatay sa sundalo ng Marines. Nais rin ni Cedo na makuha ang mga armas na nasamsam ng [inagsanib na puwersa ng Abu Sayyaf at MILF, kabilang ang limang M60 machine guns at mga automatic rifles.

Sinabi ni Cedo na ang mga sundalong napatay ay bahagi ng mga grupong naghahanap sa dinukot na Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi na umano’y bihag sa bayan ng Al-Barka. «There is a high probability the kidnapped priest was brought to Basilan,» dagdag pa nito.

Kahapon ay inamin ng AFP na may mga kilos na ang militar sa Basilan at ipinupuwesto na ang mga sundalo upang tugisin ang nasa likod ng pagpatay sa 14 na tropa ng Marines.

«We are pre-positioning troops in the area. It will be more of punitive actions. We will be running after the perpetrators,» ani Bacarro.

Sa harap nito, sinabi ni Bacarro na titiyakin naman ng militar ang kaligtasan ni Bossi sakaling nasa Basilan nga ito itinatago ng mga dumukot sa kanya. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Jul 13 2007

Palpak Na U.S. Mortar, Iimbestigahan Ng Marines

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 13 Jul) — Bubusisiin ng Philippine Marines ang naging pagpalpak ng ilang mortar na umano’y galing sa Estados Unidos habang nasa kasagsagan ng pakikipaggiyera sa mga miyembro ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sa Basilan. Sinabi ni Philippine Marine Corps spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan na bagamat prayoridad nito ang pagtutugis sa mga sumalakay sa tropa nito, mahalaga ring maungkat ang sanhi ng pumalyang mortar ng militar. «On the level of the AFP, this will be addressed and our primary concern is to ensure that our weapons are working properly and that we are efficient in combat,» ani Caculitan.Magugunitang labing-apat na Marines, kung saan ay sampu ang napugutan ng ulo, sa naturang engkuwentro.Inihayag naman ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na batay sa lot number ng mga pumalpak na mortar, natunton na nagbuhat ito sa Estados Unidos, ngunit hindi niya matiyak kung binili ito o donasyon lamang.Sinabi ni Bacarro na posible ngang hindi pumutok ang isang mortar ngunit imposible nang makailang ulit ang pagpalya nito.Zero-defect aniya ang nasabing mga mortar subalit posibleng nagkaroon ito ng damage nang dalhin ng mga sundalo sa field na bukas sa ibat-ibang epekto ng kalikasan.Ang bawat mortar ay nagkakahalagang $134 kada isa at may fuse na aabot naman sa $150.Samantala, inatasan na ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo si Acting Defense Secretary at National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales na madaliin ang full implementation ng modernisasyon ng Armed Forces of the Philippines.Ayon kay Gonzales, pinag-aaralan na nito kung paano maipatutupad at mapopondohan ng mabilis ang pagbili ng mga makabagong kagamitang pandigma ang militar.Ayaw ng kalihim na gumamit pa ang mga sundalo ng mga segunda-mano o donasyong gamit mula sa ibang bansa sapagkat buhay ng mga tauhan ng AFP ang nakataya o nalalagay sa alanganin.Ipinag-utos rin ni AFP chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., ang suspensyon sa paggamit ng libu-libong rounds ng 81-milimeter mortar nito habang iniimbestigahan ang pagkakapalya ng mga bala sa kasagsagan ng giyera ng Philippine Marines sa MILF.

Binigyang ni Esperon ang investigating team sa pamumuno ni Brigadier General Henry Galarpe, deputy Armed Forces Inspector General, ng pitong araw upang tapusin ang pagbusisi nito maging sa mga nangyari sa engkuwentro. (Juley Reyes)

Jul 05 2007

No Traces Of Kidnapped Italian Priest In Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 05 Jul) – Philippine troops have failed to locate an Italian Catholic priest, three weeks after rebels kidnapped him from a remote village in Zamboanga Sibugay province, south of Manila.

Father Giancarolo Bossi, of the Papal Institute for Foreign Missions, was kidnapped by rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on June 10 after celebrating mass in the coastal village of Payao. The kidnappers reportedly demanded “tens of millions” of pesos in ransom, according to the MILF.

On Wednesday, Italian lawmaker Margherita Boniver arrived in Manila to work with the Filipino government for the safe release of Bossi, 57.

The Milan-born priest is suffering from hypertension, his congregation said.Security officials have previously said that troops had surrounded the hideout of the kidnappers and that his rescue is imminent, but this proved wrong.

Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said assured that security forces were tracking down Bossi.

«I must assure each and everyone that the AFP in the area, together with the PNP [Philippine National Police], are not letting up on the operations,» he told reporters in Manila.

Bossi’s congregation said it has not received any proof that the priest is alive.

«All indications would tell us that Father Bossi is alive. Proof of life would be something higher, meaning a picture or a voice tape, but it’s more of [an] indication, what we have right now,» Esperon said.

More than 2,000 soldiers have joined the search for Bossi. The United States also deployed an EP-3 Orion reconnaissance plane to help the Philippine troops.

Bossi is the third Italian priest kidnapped in Mindanao since 1998. MILF rebels also kidnapped an Italian priest, Luciano Benedetti, in Zamboanga del Norte province in 1998. Benedetti, 52, was held for nearly 10 weeks until he was freed in exchange for a huge government ransom.

In 2001, renegade MILF rebels also snatched Father Giuseppe Pierantoni as the 44-year-old from Bologna said mass in the parish church of Dimataling town in Zamboanga del Sur.

The priest was freed after six months in captivity in exchange for an unspecified ransom, but he claimed to have escaped from his kidnappers. (Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

Jul 05 2007

Jonas Burgos Report, No Way!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 05 Jul) – Tuluyan nang isinara ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang pagkakataon para sa pamilya ng dinukot na aktibistang si Jonas Burgos na makakuha ng sipi ng resulta ng imbestigasyon nito hinggil sa naturang insidente.Ito’y makaraang ihayag ngayon ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. na batay sa rekomendasyon ng isinagawang pag-aaral ng Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO), hindi maaaring isapubliko o ipamahagi ang ulat ng imbestigasyon ng Provost Marshal.Ang Provost Marshal ang nag-ungkat ng sinasabing pagkawala ng plaka ng sasakyang naka-impound sa kampo ng 56th Infantry Battalion at namataang ginamit sa get-away vehicle nang dukutin si Burgos.»There’s no need, they have studied it and the advised to me, I’m taking that, there’s no need to release it,» ani Esperon.Humihingi ng kopya ang ina ni Jonas na si Editha sa pagbusisi ng AFP sa naturang usapin ngunit una na ring tinanggihan ng militar sa katwirang konpidensyal na dokumento ito kung kayat nag-akusa na pinagtatakpan ni Esperon ang kanyang mga tauhan.Naninindigan muli si Esperon na wala rin namang mapapala ang pamilya Burgos sa Provost Marshal report dahil natutuon lamang ito sa nawawalang plaka at hindi sa paghahanap ng responsable sa pagdukot kay Jonas.»As of now that should remain as an internal document to us… It hasserved its purpose as far as we are concerned in the armed forces,» ayon pa kay Esperon. «We will come up with the whole picture as soon as we get more details,» dagdag ni Esperon.

Kasabay nito, sinabi ng heneral na masyadong maaga upang idiin ang komunistang grupo sa pagkawala ni Burgos na una na ring pinalulutang ni Army Chief Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino. (Juley Reyes)

Jul 02 2007

Bagong Lider Ng Abu Sayyaf Target Ngayon Ng Militar Sa Sulu

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Jul) – Nakahanay na rin sa tinatarget ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na mapatumba ang sinasabing bagong lider ng Abu Sayyaf na si Yasser Igasan sa Sulu.

Gayunman, sinabi ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na hindi maituturing na mabigat na banta si Igasan kumpara sa mga napaslang na pinuno ng Abu Sayyaf na sina Khadafi Janjalani at Abu Solaiman.

May duda rin si Esperon na kontrolado ni Igasan ang kabuuan ng bandidong grupo sapagkat may mga impormasyong ayaw sa kanya ng ibang miyembro.

Kasabay nito, may mga kumpirmasyon nang isinasagawa ang militar kung si Igasan na ang tunay na bagong lider ng Abu Sayyaf.

“That is a continuing effort the matter of confirming whether it is Igasan, but indeed he can be our target now, so whether he is the leader or not he has figured out in our reports he must be a target now,» ani Esperon.

Walang masyadong alam ang AFP tungkol kay Igasan na sa hanay ng mga sinasabing lider ng teroristang grupo, siya ay hindi masyadong popular ngunit sinasabing may mga pagsasanay sa ibang bansa.

Sinisilip na rin ng militar ang posibilidad na mayroong koneksyon sa mga dayuhang bansa si Igasan.

Bukod sa Abu Sayyaf ay tinutugis rin ng mga sundalo ang mga lider ng Jemaah Islamiya na sina Dulmatin at Umar Patek na umano’y kinukupkop ng grupo ni Igasan sa Sulu.

Kasalukuyang may mga travel warnings ang ibat-ibang embahada dahil sa banta ng terorismo sa bansa.

Ngunit wala naman balak si acting Defense Secretary at National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales na magbago ng alerto sa Metro Manila at Mindanao sa harap ng banta ng terorismo hindi lamang sa bansa, ngunit maging sa ibat-ibang panig ng mundo.

Kamakalawa lamang ay isang kotseng sinunog ang umararo sa passenger terminal ng Glasgow Airport sa London at 5 katao ang dinakip.

Binigyang-diin ni Gonzales na mananatili ang pinakamababang alerto sa Metro Manila habang hindi rin babaguhin ang pinakamataas na terror alert o extreme critical alert sa Mindanao.

Ikinatwiran ng kalihim na wala namang direktang implikasyon sa lokal na seguridad ang terror scare sa United Kingdom bagkus ay indikasyon lamang na aktibo ang global terrorism.

Bunsod nito’y hindi aniya dapat mag-relax ang mga awtoridad upang hindi maisahan ng mga terorista.

Buwanang nagkakaroon ng ebalwasyon ang NSC at iba pang security agency hinggil sa itatakdang alerto sa bansa.

Noong nakaraang Biyernes, dalawang sasakyan na naglululan ng mga eksplosibo ang natagpuan sa London.

Binanggit pa ni Gonzales na naghahalo na rin ang terorismo at pangingikil bilang pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng mga kriminal, lalo na sa Mindanao. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 27 2007

RP To Launch New Anti-Terror Ops In Troubled South

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Jun) – The Philippines is preparing to launch a major offensive against the local al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Indonesian terror network, Jemaah Islamiya, in the southern island of Jolo.Codenamed Oplan: Ultimatum II, the anti-terror operation will begin July 1, said Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.“This operation will be in close coordination with local government officials headed by the new governor,” he told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.Cedo was referring to the new governor of Jolo island, Sakur Tan, who has publicly condemned the atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf.He said the targets of the new offensive are leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya that included local militant chieftain Radulan Sahiron and Dulmatin and Umar Patek, both tagged by Jakarta in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.Hundreds of U.S. troops are also deployed in Jolo island, on the request of the Philippine government, to help the local military defeat terrorism.On Tuesday, the U.S. Pacific commander, Adm. Timothy Keating, in a surprised visit in Jolo island, inspected a captured Abu Sayyaf mountain base in Tugas village in Patikul town.The base was previously used by Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani. The terrorist leader was mortally wounded at Tugas Hill in a battle with U.S.-backed Filipino soldiers in September 2006.Janjalani was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Americans in the Philippines.“Until last year, Tugas Hill was the traditional lair for the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group,” said Maj. General Ruben Raphael, the island’s army commander.“For years, our soldiers have had encounters with Abu Sayyaf until we gained control of their camp and made it our own.”Now Tugas Hill is home to the 5th Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 5. It is used as a jungle training camp and as a base to launch combat patrols against remaining remnants of terrorist organizations still operating on Jolo.“The death of Janjalani neutralized the gravity of terrorism in the Philippines,” said the Philippine military chief, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.Keating and Kenney spent an hour walking through dense jungle terrain inspecting crude fighting positions that Abu Sayyaf dug into the ground.“This has been a spectacular visit,” said Keating. He went on to emphasize that the U.S. and AFP need to continue their efforts in denying safe haven to terrorists.Cedo said troops will also mount a massive humanitarian mission on Jolo island in an effort to win the hearts and minds of the locals.“The operation is not only about fighting the terrorists. This is also a fight to win the hearts and minds of the civilians,” he said. “We want to transform Sulu into a place where everybody can live peacefully and with out fear.”In the Ultimatum I, the Philippine military offensive killed Janjalani and his deputy Jainal Antel Sali, alias Abu Soliman.Esperon and Keating also signed Wednesday a new security accord that paves the way for new joint anti-terror training in the next five years. But Keating said the U.S. goal is to help Manila defeat terrorism, particularly Jemaah Islamiya.Esperon said the Philippines and Australia will also hold a joint military training.“We expect that there will be an expansion from bilateral activities to multilateral. Where it is legally permissible, we will do it as addressing security threats could not be limited to arrangements,” he said.”We see a lot of multilateral activities, trainings, exchange of information and we don’t see any reason why we could not go to that direction.”Both the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya are included in the U.S. terror list and Washington offered as much as ten million dollars for the capture of Dulmatin and five million dollars bounty for Sahiron and other known local terror leaders.

Manila also set side one hundred million pesos rewards for the capture of known Abu Sayyaf leaders dead or alive. (Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

Jun 20 2007

11 Days Passed, Kidnapped Priest Still Far From Freedom

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 21 Jun) – Philippine troops continue searching for an Italian Catholic missioner, eleven days after he was seized by rebels in the restive region of Mindanao.Rebels have reportedly demanded one million dollars in exchange for the safe release of Rome-based Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions priest Giancarlo Bossi.“Soldiers are tracking down the kidnappers and the priest and right now, we do not their exact location, although there were reports that Bossi is taken to Lanao del Norte province,” Major General Nehemias Pajarito, commander of the Army’s First Infantry Division, told the regional Mindanao Examiner newspaper.Bossi, 57, was kidnapped June 10 after celebrating mass in the coastal town of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay province, 300 kms from Lanao del Norte.Police tagged Akiddin Abdusallam, a rogue leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as mastermind of the kidnapping.Pajarito said the search for the priest has been hampered by bad weather and rugged terrain in the province. Torrential rains the past days, he said, slowed down the search for Bossi, a native of Milan.“Despite the rain, the search is still going on,” he said.The MILF, which is negotiating peace with Manila, is also helping in the search for the kidnapped priest. Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said Abdusallam is a not a member of his group, but Abu Sayyaf, blamed by Manila for the terrorism and kidnappings for ransom in the troubled region.Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon said troops have located the hideout of the kidnappers and that Bossi may soon be freed, but obviously it was far from truth.Dolorfino said the safety of the hostage is the primary concern of the military and that there is an ongoing negotiation to secure Bossi’s freedom without paying ransom.»Our primary consideration is Bossi’s safety. We will exert all peaceful means to resolve the matter,” he said.The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions has expressed concern over the fate of Bossi, who is said to be suffering from hypertension.“As far as we know the captors and their masterminds have not yet been clearly identified, however the evidence points to a well-organized group who could make use of a pump boat, they were fully armed and well equipped and the capture of Fr. Giancarlo was carefully planned.”“Who are these Captors and Masterminds? Who is behind this drama? Why don’t they declare their purpose? Why are they playing with the life of a person and religious leader serving the people in a remote area? Are they threatening everybody, even the whole Nation and the International Community? They must have a purpose. Some people must know about this plan,” it said in a statement on Thursday.It also appealed for any information about the priest.“We pray that persons of good will may dare to bring out the truth and free the nation from those disgraceful acts of tensions Fr. Giancarlo may feel abandoned like Jesus on the cross, may we share with him and with all our people the joy of resurrection,” it said.On Wednesday, Italian missionaries in the Philippines have put up a virtual diary on the Internet to keep track of developments of a kidnapped prelate.“It’s raining in Zamboanga City. Reports, rather than bringing relief, bring only sad confusion. Days ago the military said that Giancarlo would have been released by the days end, then in 24 hours, then 48 and now in 72.”

“Days ago, various agents of the shadowy yet trustworthy secret service told us that Giancarlo was being held in the area of Sibuguey. Then he was no longer there, but near Lanao del Norte (300 kilometres east); then reports placed him on Basilan island (300 kilometres West). It’s like shooting at the breeze. The truth is lost on the face of the map,” part of the entry on the diary said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Jun 20 2007

Heneral, Opisyal Sabit Sa Bigong Coup, Hindi Palalayain!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Jun) – Malabong mapalaya ang mga heneral at iba pang opisyal ng militar na sangkot sa bigong planong kudeta noong Pebrero 2006 matapos na tanggihan ito mismo ni Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.Ito’y sa harap ng pagkapanalo ni dating Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes IV bilang senador. May naunang pahayag ito na tutulungan ang mga nakapiit sa paratang na kudeta upang mapalaya.Mahigit isang taon nang nakakulong ang grupo ni dating Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, dating Army Scout Ranger chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim at Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin kasama ang iba pang mga tauhan nito dahil sa sinasabing balak ng pag-agaw sa kapangyarihan ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.Binigyang-diin ni Esperon na may proseso ang marapat na masunod sa ilalim ng umiiral na mga probisyon ng hustisyang miliitar.Makakalaya lamang aniya ang mga coup plotter kung malilinis ang mga ito sa mga kaso o napagsilbihan na ang kaparusahan.Kasalukuyang dinidinig ng special General Court Martial sa pamumuno ni Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano ang mga kasong paglabag sa Articles of War nina Miranda, Lim at Querubin.» We now have the General Court Martial which is proceeding against them and have taken jurisdiction over them, so by the provision of the Articles of War, it simply has to go on, the military justice system will go on,» ani Esperon.

Hindi naman nababahala si Esperon sa anumang plano ni Trillanes para mailigtas ang grupo nina Miranda, Lim at Querubin hanggat maidadaan ito sa legal na proseso. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 19 2007

AFP Handa Ng Bitiwan Si Trillanes

Ang pasasalamat ni failed coup leader at ngayon ay senator-elect Antonio Trillanes na makikita sa website ng Magdalo Para Pagbabago.

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Jun)- Handa na ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na alisin ang kustodiya nito kay Senator Antonio Trillanes IV na kasalukuyang nakaditine sa Philippine Marines headquarters sa Fort Bonifacio, Taguig dahil sa bigong coup nuong 2003.

Ayon kay AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., sumulat siya kay Makati Regional Trial Court branch 148 presiding judge Oscar Pimentel upang pagpasyahan kung mananatili sa militar ang pangangalaga kay Trillanes.

Ipinunto ni Esperon na kailangang malinaw sa mababang hukuman kung nanaisin pa nitong maipagpatuloy ang ibinigay sa kanila na custodial authority sa senador sa harap na rin ng mga kontrobersyang sumulpot hinggil sa nasabing usapin.

«I am writing honorable Oscar Pimentel, clarifying with him whether he wants me to continue having the custodial authority over Senator Trillanes, as he gave me.If he wants, I can continue. If he doesn’t, he has just to rule and I will follow the official ruling,» ani Esperon.

Aminado ang heneral na problemado ito sa isyu ng kustodiya kay Trillanes at gustong pagbigyan ang mga hirit ng dating junior officer partikular ang makadalo sa sesyon at trabaho ng Senado ngunit kailangan naman niyang protektahan ang mandato at regulasyon ng militar at General Court Martial kung saan ay may kinakaharap rin na kaso ang senador.

«This is my dilemma as chief of staff. Gusto kong largahan ang kanyang pagnanais. We know he can accomplish many things. But I also want protect the interest of the AFP, including the people in the GCM,» ayon kay Esperon.

«I just want to say that I am just an implementer of laws. I am not an interpreter, neither do I make laws,» dagdag nito.

Si Trillanes kasama ang 30 pang sundalo ay may kasong kudeta sa Makati RTC bukod pa sa paglabag sa Articles of War 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) sa military court.

Gayunman, nagpasakalye si Esperon na kung mananatili ang detensyon kay Trillanes sa kanilang hurisdiksyon ay mapapayagan naman ang senador na tumungong Senado ngunit dapat na may karampatang pahintulot. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 15 2007

Trillanes, Muntik Ng Sumabit Sa Proklamasyon!

Isa sa mga campaign material ni Senador Antonio Trillanes. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 15 Jun) — Muntik nang hindi makadalo si senator-elect Antonio Trillanes sa proklamasyon nito sa Commission on Elections kaninang umaga matapos na harangin ng Armed Forces ang paglabas nito sa kulungan.

Ngunit pinagbigyan pa rin ni Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon si Trillanes bagamat iginigiit nito na marapat ay sinusunod ng senador ang proseso habang nasa hurisdiksyon pa rin ng militar.

Nabigo umano ang ang kampo ni Trillanes na magsumite ng pahintulot kay Esperon upang makadalo sa proklamasyon nito kanina.

Bukod sa permiso ng Makati Regional Trial Court, obligado si Trillanes na magpaalam sa AFP dahil bahagi ito ng proseso bukod pa na sila ang may hawak ng kustodiya sa dating opisyal ng militar.

Pinagkaguluhan naman si Trillanes ng media ng dumating sa COMELEC kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay at supporters.

Wala naman balak si Trillanes na gantihan si Esperon kahit pa ito ay nanalo bilang senador.

Sinabi pa ni Trillanes na habambuhay nitong irerespeto si Esperon bilang miyembro ng Upper Class sa Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at nakatataas na opisyal ng militar.

Gayunman, binigyang-diin ni Trillanes na ang kanyang ipinaglalaban ay para rin sa mga miyembro ng Armed Forces at mahalagang malinis ang institusyon sa lumalalang katiwalian at magpatupad ng reporma.

Kasabay nito, hindi naman natitinag si Esperon sakaling gisahin siya ni Trillanes sa anumang imbestigasyon ng Senado na ipatatawag nito.

Sinabi ng heneral na bahagi ito ng demokratikong proseso sa bansa at malimit rin naman siyang humaharap sa mga pagdinig ng Mataas ng Kapulungan.

«That’s part of the democratic process. Lagi rin naman akong humaharap sa Senado,» ani Esperon sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

Makakaharap aniya siya sa Senado kung bibigyan ng awtoridad ng Commander-in-Chief o ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo para dumalo sa anuma ng pulong o pandinig.

Bagamat hindi masama ang loob ni Esperon sa pagkapanalo ni Trillanes ay inamin naman nitong kagulat-gulat ang pagkakahalal ng failed mutiny leader.

Samantala, masalimuot na proseso ang dadaanan ni Trillanes bago tuluyang mailipat ang kustodiya rito mula sa militar tungong Senado.

Ayon naman kay Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro ay hindi magiging madali para kay Trillanes ang makabitaw sa kustodiya ng militar bunsod na rin ng kinakaharap nitong kasong paglabag sa Articles of War noong aktibo pa sa serbisyo.

Nais naman ni Trillanes na magkaroon ng pagbabagop sa kanyang kulungan at posibleng doon nito isagawa ang anumang pandinig o pulong na may kinalaman sa kanyang pagiging senador. Ito ay kung hindi siya papayagang makadalo sa Senado.

Posibleng maibigay kay Trillanes ang Defense Committee at mailipat sa kustodiya ng Senado o Sergeant-at-Arms nito o sa Senate President ang kaso nito.

Sabit sa Trillanes sa nabigong coup apat na taon na ang nakalipas. Korupsyon sa pamahalaan at Armed Forces ang naging isyu ng Magdalo Group na kinabibilangan nito ng kanilang okupahan ang Oakwood Premiere Hotels sa Makati City. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Jun 12 2007

Man Jumps To His Death In South RP

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 12 Jun) – Tinatayang 19 na pinuno ng barangay sa kalakhang-Maynila ang humihirit diumano ng pagpapabalik sa tropa ng mga sundalo para sa kanilang kampanya kontra kriminalidad.Sa liham kay Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., ay ipinunto ng mga barangay chairman ng Maynila, Quezon City, Caloocan City at Taguig City na malaking pakinabang ang mga sundalo sa Metro upang mapababa ang antas ng krimen bukod pa sa nagsilbing inspirasyon din ang mga ito ng kabataan.Nagpakita rin anila ng propesyunalismo at disiplina ang militar sa National Capital Region (NCR) kung kayat walang masama na maibalik ang mga ito.»Dahil po sa pakikipag-ugnayan namin sa mga kasundaluhan, panatag na po ang aming mga kalooban na naririyan sila para sa aming kaligtasan at kasiguruhan. Nais po naming iparating sa inyo na sa kanilang pag-alis bago ang halalan ay mas naramdaman namin ang aming pangangailangan sa kanila sa pagtataguyod ng kaayusan at kaunlaran sa ating bayan,» ayon sa kanilang liham na ipinakita sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner kaninang umaga.Gayunman, wala pang balak ang liderato ng militar na tugunan ang nasabing kahilingan ng mga barangay official.Pinag-aaralan pa rin ng AFP leadership ang naunang isinumiteng accomplishment report ng National Capital Region Command hinggil sa naging civil military operations nito sa Metro.

Nauna nang nagpahiwatig si Esperon na kung sadyang kailangan ang mga sundalo sa Metro Manila ay may posibilidad na mapakilos muli ang mga ito. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 08 2007

AFP Hahalungkatin Ang Suporta Ng Kaliwa Sa Failed Coup Leader

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 08 Jun) – Uungkatin umano ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas ang sinasabing suporta ng mga kaliwa at komunistang grupo sa napipintong pagkapanalo ni dating Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes sa pagkasenador.Sinabi ngayon ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na kung inaangkin ng mga maka-kaliwa na sila ang responsable sa malaking hakot ng boto para kay Trillanes, mapatutunayan lamang nito ang mga naunang alegasyon ng ugnayan ng grupong Magdalo sa mga komunista. «We are studying that, if they are claiming that they are responsible for his victory, well they must be good in their strategies but at the same time, that is something to look at, if somebody won by, because of the efforts of the left,» ani Esperon sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.Hindi naman agad makunan ng pahayag si Trillanes ukol sa balak ng militar, ngunit posibleng manalo ito bilang senador.Kasabay nito, hindi naman natitinag si Esperon kung angkinin ng Magdalo group ang kanilang panalo sa pakikibaka laban sa gobyerno nang makuha ang boto ng maraming pinoy. «Well they can call that victory because he (Trillanes) called himself Magdalo but as I said, as of this time everything could be speculative because no proclamation has been made, so lets just wait for that,» dagdag ni Esperon. Muli namang hinamon ni Esperon si Trillanes na ilabas ang ebidensya nito sa alegasyong inutusan niya ang lahat ng mga sundalo sa pamamagitan ng radio message upang dayain ang eleksyon at ipanalo ang Team Unity senatorial candidates.

«I have challenged them to come out with the evidence, with the radio message that they were saying that I sent out, until now they have not come out with it simply because they cannot come out with it, its not true,» diin ng heneral. (Juley Reyes)

May 22 2007

Kapabayaan, Inamin Ng Armed Forces!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 May) – Aminado ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na nagkaroon ng kapabayaan sa mga tauhan ng militar para bantayan ang mga nakukumpiskang sasakyan na nasa kanilang kustodiya.Ito’y may kaugnayan sa nawawalang plaka ng trak na naka-impound sa kampo ng 56th Infantry Battalion ng Philippine Army ngunit natuntong idinikit sa ibang sasakyan na ginamit sa pagdukot sa anak ng dating Malaya publisher Joe Burgos na si Jonas Burgos.Sinabi nina AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. at Army Chief Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino na maituturing na administrative lapses ang pagkawala ng nasabing plaka ng sasakyan.Ngunit hindi naman ito pinaniwalaan ng pamilyang Burgos. Militar ang itinuturong nasa likod ng pagdukot kay Burgos na isang aktibista.Inamin rin ni Tolentino na hindi lamang sa 56th IB nangyari ang ganitong kapabayaan kundi maging sa iba pang kampo kung kayat nagkaroon na rin ng imbentaryo at naparusahan ang mga pumalpak sa seguridad.Hindi naman aniya inaasahan ng militar na maaaring magamit sa anumang ilegal na aktibidad ng ibang tao ang mga sasakyang nasa kanilang kustodiya dahil nakakalimutan na nila ito sa paglipas ng panahon.»Sa ibang units napabayaan, nawawala rin, napabayaan. Pero pinag-i-inventory na namin para as of this date alam na natin wala meron tayong record, kasi mas mahirap kung me ganun na situation saka sabihin na nawala eh hindi tayo paniniwalaan ng tao yan,» ani Tolentino.

Bahagi aniya ng parusa sa mga ganitong kapabayaan ay ang babala sa mga kumander na lilitaw sa rekord nito at makakaapekto sa promosyon. (Juley Reyes)

May 09 2007

Militar, Alarmado Sa Burgos Kidnapping

QUEZON CITY – Mismong ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ay naalarma na rin sa pagpaparatang sa institusyon sa pagkawala ng aktibista at anak ng publisher na si Jonas Joseph Burgos.

Gayunman, agad na sinabi ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na walang kinalaman ang militar sa sinasabing pagdukot sa batang Burgos.

Nabatid kay Esperon na pinakilos na ang Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) upang hanapin si Burgos.

Bukod pa rito, nag-iimbestiga na rin ang Provost Marshall ng Philippine Army matapos na matunton ang kumpiskadong illegal logging truck na dapat sana ay may plakang ginamit bilang getaway vehicle sa pagtangay sa biktima sa headquarters ng 56th Infantry Battalion.

Sinabi ni Esperon na ang naturang truck ay na-impound sa 56th Infantry Battalion noong Hunyo 2006 dahil sa pagdadala ng ilegal na troso at iniimbestigahan kung paanong napunta ang plaka nito sa isang Toyota Revo na naging sasakyan para tumakas ang mga suspek bitbit si Burgos.

Walang nakikitang ugnayan ang AFP Chief sa natuntong logging truck sa kampo ng militar at sa pagdukot kay Burgos bagamat hindi aniya nito isinasara ang posibilidad sa maaaring pananagutan ng ilang tauhan nito. (Juley Reyes)

May 09 2007

AFP, Palaban Na Sa Halalan!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 09 May) – Kinumpirma ngayon ni Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. ang pagpapakalat ng tropa ng mga sundalo sa tatlong probinsya at isang syudad bunsod ng pag-init ng election-related violence.Nilinaw ni Esperon na mayroong basbas o opisyal na pag-atas ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) ang naturang deployment.Kasabay nito, epektibo bukas ay itataas na sa red alert ang kabuuan puwersa ng militar sa bansa upang matiyak na magiging handa sa pag-ayuda sa Philippine National Police (PNP) sakaling hindi makontrol ang seguridad.Sinabi ng heneral na isang batalyon o binubuo ng 300 hanggang 400 sundalo ang kikilos sa Abra, Nueva Ecija, at Masbate, gayundin ang isang maliit na grupo naman sa San Carlos City, Pangasinan.Maituturing na «on call» aniya ang AFP at inaasahan pang may mga lugar na maaaring malagyan ng military deployment.»Let’s say the whole Armed Forces is on call.Some areas have been declared as election areas of concern so we are anticipating more deployments,» ani Esperon.Tinitiyak pa ni Esperon na paninindigan ng AFP ang umiiral na Memorandum of Agreement sa pagitan ng Comelec at Department of National Defense na naglilimita ng papel ng militar sa eleksyon.»There are two instances by which the Armed Forces would be deployed, one is if there is serious armed threat. It has happened in Abra, it has happened in Nueva Ecija, Kalinga, Masbate [and] Sulu,» paliwanag ng AFP Chief.»Another instance where could be deployed is for the conduct of the gun ban and we have been directed to conduct, put up checkpoints,» dagdag nito.Nagpatutsada rin si Esperon sa mga retiradong heneral na nagpapalutang na mandaraya ang AFP sa May 14 elections sa ilalim ng tinatawag na «Oplan Mercury Rising».Sinabi ni Esperon na mas maganda aniya kung naging mahusay sa pagpaplano ang mga retiradong heneral na bumubuo ng Bantay Boto coalition noong panahon na sila ay aktibo pa sa posisyon o serbisyong militar.Naniniwala pa ang heneral na ang ipinaparatang na plano sa pandaraya umano ng AFP ay gawa-gawa lang mga gustong masira ang imahe ng organisasyon.»I wish they were that good in making plans when they were still in the active service,» ani Esperon.Una nang inihayag ng naturang koalisyon ng mga retirado na mayroong intelligence information na dadayain ang 14 milyong boto para paboran ang mga kandidato ng Team Unity partikular na nina senate candidates Michael Defensor, Prospero Pichay, at Juan Miguel Zubiri.Inakusahan rin ng grupo si Esperon na nagpalabas ng radio message upang tiyakin ang 12-0 victory ng administration candidates.»Those allegations were all concocted by whoever is bringing them now. First of all, I’m not aware of it. There is nothing on the ground that could, that would [give] credence to such an oplan,» diin pa ni Esperon.

«Their objective is simply to vilify some groups including the military. They say I sent out a radio signal to vote 12-0. I say these are shallow allegations. Any private knows a radio message when he sees one,» dagdag nito.Hinamon rin ni Esperon ang grupo na ipakita sa kanya ang kopya ng radio message. (Juley Reyes)

May 03 2007

AFP Walang Kinalaman Sa Burgos Case, Aquino Spying: Esperon

MANILA – Mariin ang pagpalag ngayon ni Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. sa pagtatrato sa militar bilang suspek sa pagkawala ng anak ng publisher na si Jonas Burgos.Kasabay nito ang depensa ni Esperon sa nabigong pagharap nina Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) Chief Major General Delfin Banguit at AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Commodore Leonardo Calderon sa pagdinig ng Commission on Human Rights (CHR) kanina.Iginiit ng heneral na maling idiin ang AFP sa naturang insidente gayung kahit na gisahin pa sila ay hindi rin ito makakatulong para mapalutang ang batang Burgos.»I do not think that is the correct way of putting things, we can certainly help by looking into the matter and probably gather more information, but it would be off tangent to be alleging that the military is the suspect,» ani Esperon sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner. «I don’t think we can contribute to the solution of the problem by being called and grilled and appear, and look like suspects,» dagdag nito.Bukod dito, ikinatwiran ni Esperon na wala ring ipinadalang pormal na imbitasyon ang CHR sa AFP at hindi rin nakipag-ugnayan sa CHR office sa militar.Naninindigan ang AFP Chief na walang kinalaman ang militar sa nangyari kay Burgos dahil hindi ito ang uri ng operasyon na kanilang isinasakatuparan.Ibinintang rin sa AFP ang umano’y pange-espiya sa dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino matapos na matagpuan ang isang bugging device sa linya ng telepono nito sa labas lamang ng kanilang bahay sa Quezon City.Bagamat inamin ni AFP Public Information Office (PIO) Chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro na may kapabilidad ang militar na magsagawa ng surveillance operations, hindi nito pag-aaksayahan ng panahon na ilegal na tiktikan ang dating Presidente.Maaaring kagagawan aniya ng ibang grupo na may sariling interes ang naturang hakbang.Sinabi ni Bacarro na may basbas o kautusan ng hukuman sakaling magsagawa man ng paniniktik ang AFP.»Definitely there are court orders allowing us to do that then we will do that, but of course ma-satisfy ‘yung requirements, justified kung ano purpose ng paggamit nang ganung capability,» ani Bacarro.Naniniwala si Bacarro na sa kasalukuyang makabagong teknolohiya, simple na lang at madaling isakatuparan ang wiretapping.»If you get another telephone, attach it to the line, anybody can do it, you can use another telephone as a listening device, it’s just parang extension, ganun ang concept nun,» ani Bacarro.Gayunman, walang balak ang AFP na magsagawa ng imbestigasyon hinggil sa nadiskubreng wiretapping device sa mga Aquino.Inaasahan na rin ng militar na palagiang mapagbintangan ang AFP bilang suspek sa paniniktik.

«Some groups will take advantage of hitting the Armed Forces of the Philippines again, we would be the easiest excuse or the way out definitely merong mga pointing fingers na naman dyan,» dagdag ng opisyal. (Juley Reyes)

Apr 30 2007

MNLF On The War Path!

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Apr) – The Moro National Liberation Front rebels on Monday denied military allegations that it was sheltering members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiya in the southern Filipino island of Jolo.

“We have no links whatsoever with the Jemaah Islamiya. We don’t even know who were behind this group. How can they link us with the Jemaah Islamiya or Abu Sayyaf?” said MNLF leader Ustadz Khabir Malik.

Troops were battling Malik’s forces accused of attacking a marine base and the town hall of Panamao town on April 13, killing three soldiers and a civilian, said Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon.

The military said Malik’s group is sheltering Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya terrorists on the island, about 950 km south of Manila.

“We have ordered troops to pursue the terrorists and the fugitive Malik. Our operation is now called Oplan Ultimatum 2,” Esperon said.

But Malik accused the military of attacking MNLF forces and killed civilians in the guise of pursuing the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya.

The military said it was targeting Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya hiding in the camp controlled by the MNLF. Last week, soldiers shelled a base of Khaid Ajibun, one of the most influential rebel leader allied with jailed MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari.

Misuari is facing rebellion charges after his forces attacked a major army headquarters in Jolo island in 2000. The MNLF signed a peace agreement with Manila in September 1996, but Misuari accused the Arroyo government of failing to honor the accord.

Malik said the military violated the peace agreement. “Since they have not respected the MNLF and the September 1996 peace agreement and with all those unprovoked attacks against us, it is now better to have no cease-fire at all.”

“Those who want to attack should attack now. They have been attacking the MNLF. So it is now up to them. We will take care of ourselves.”

Esperon said it was Malik’s group started the hostilities in Jolo.

“Malik attacked military and civilian targets without provocation. Malik attacked the marine base with mortars and also attacked the Panamao town hall, which is 31 kilometers away,” he said.

“Malik remains the subject of our hot pursuit. It is very clear that he committed homicide. We now consider him as a fugitive,” Esperon said.

Malik said: “Do not believe what the military say about the MNLF, we have not done anything wrong. It is the civilians who are suffering from these attacks of the military. There is no peace at all here. The blame should fall on the military and the Arroyo government, not us.”

The military said it killed and wounded dozens of rebels since the fighting broke out in Jolo, a claim strongly denied by the MNLF.

Some 8,000 soldiers are involved in the operation against about a thousand MNLF rebels and Abu Sayyaf members and a dozen Jemaah Islamiya militants, including Dulmatin and Umar Patek, who were both implicated in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. (Mindanao Examiner)

Apr 27 2007

Oplan Ultimatum 2, Inilunsad Sa Sulu!

Mga bala ng .50-caliber machine gun, automatic rifles, radio transceivers at satellite phone na nabawi ng mga sundalo mula sa nakubkob na kampo ng Moro National Liberation Front sa lalawigan ng Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

SULU (Mindanao Examienr / 28 Apr) – Isinailalim na sa mahigpit na siguridad ang lalawigan ng Sulu matapos na maglunsad ang militar ng panibagong opensiba upang tugisin ang Abu Sayyaf at Moro National Liberation Front rebels.

Mismong si Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon ang nag-utos na habulin si MNLF leader Ustadz Khabir Malik, na siyang nasa likod ng atake sa isang marine base at municipal hall ng Panamao nuong Abril 13.

Binansagan ni Esperon na “Oplan: Ultimatum 2” ang nasabing opensiba kontra grupo ni Malik at Abu Sayyaf sa Sulu.

“We have ordered troops to pursue the terrorists and the fugitive Malik. Our operation is now called Oplan Ultimatum 2,” ani Esperon sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

Nagtungo si Esperon kamakalawa sa Sulu at nakipagpulong sa mga commanders nito at binisita at pinarangalan ang mga tropang tumutugis sa mga armado.

“Malik remains the subject of our hot pursuit. It is very clear that he committed homicide. We now consider him as a fugitive,” dagdag pa ni Esperon.

Mahigit sa 8,000 sundalo ang naka-deploy ngayon sa Sulu, ngunit walang bagong ulat na nagkaroon ng sagupaan sa pagitan ng militar at grupo ni Malik o Abu Sayyaf.

Hinihinalang nasa bundok ng Mount Tumatangis si Malik. Wala na rin umanong suporta ito mula sa ibang mga MNLF commanders dahil sa ginawang atahe na ikinamatay ng 3 sundalo at isang teenager. (Mindanao Examiner)

Apr 12 2007

AFP LEADERSHIP, HINDI NATINAG SA PULSE ASIA SURVEY

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 12 Apr) — Dedma lang ang liderato ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas sa resulta ng survey ng Pulse Asia kung saan ay kabilang ito sa hindi pinagkakatiwalaan ng mga mamamayan.

Kasabay nito, kinukuwestyon ng militar ang grupong nasa likod ng pagpapa-survey at ang motibo sa pagdadawit kay AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

Punto ni AFP Public Information Office Chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, halos lahat ng mga politiko ay tinarget ng survey ngunit kataka-takang nadawit si Esperon.

«Basically ang object ng survey are the political, I mean the candidates, we are just wondering at pumasok dun yung, pumasok dun si Chief of Staff,» ani Bacarro sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

«But nonetheless despite the surveys, the Chief of Staff of the AFP is not in anyway affected by this survey because these are just surveys. He remains to be focused on performing yung kanyang task which is to lead the AFP in accomplishing yung mandate namin,» dagdag nito.

Ayaw ring iugnay ni Bacarro ang resulta ng survey sa kontrobersyal na Hello Garci scandal kung saan ay nadawit ang pangalan ni Esperon at ang pagkakakaladkad sa militar sa umano’y May 2004 election fraud.

Naniniwala pa ang PIO Chief na walang sapat na batayan ang nasabing survey na kauna-unahan lamang na nagdawit sa AFP Chief.

«The chief of staff has enjoyed the trust and confidence of the soldiers. Never has the AFP being this strong, we are all aware of the number of efforts to destroy the image of the militar and they have continued to fail,» ani Bacarro. (Juley Reyes)

Mar 16 2007

Subversive Law, Pinabubuhay Ng AFP

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 16 Mar) – Inabuso diumano ng Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) ang pagbasura sa Anti-Subversive Law noong 1986 at ginagamit naman ngayon ng mga rebelde upang guluhin ang pamahalaan.

Ito ang akusasyon ni Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. kasabay ng hirit na muling maitakdang ilegal ang komunismo sa bansa.

«If I had my way I would really go for the declaration of outlawing the CPP,» ani Esperon.

Isa aniya si CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison sa mga political prisoner na pinalaya upang maramdaman ang tunay na demokrasya subalit naging abusado.

«When we threw out kicked out the dictator we started to release our political prisoners, one of whom is Joma Sison. We wanted them to enjoy the democratic space but do they want that democratic space? No,» dagdag ng heneral.

Aminado si Esperon na ang kawalan ng batas laban sa komunismo ang pangunahing dahilan kung kayat hindi rin magawang maaresto ang lahat ng mga pinaghihinalaang kasapi at lider ng kilusan.

«If I had my way want all suspected [communists] arrested,» ayon kay Esperon.

Kinakailangan pa aniyang bumuo ng mga kasong kriminal laban sa ilang maka-kaliwang personalidad tulad ni Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo bago ito matugis gayung matagal na ring natutukoy na isa ito sa mga lider ng CPP.

«Congressman Satur Ocampo for example, has been charged with murder. We are not charging him because he is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. For us to be able to do that we had to file charges, gather evidence, gather witnesses,» punto pa ni Esperon.

Nadakip na rin kanina si Ocampo matapos itong maghain ng kontra-asunto sa Supreme Court.

Ilang lingo rin nagtago ito matapos na lumabas ang warrant of arrest nito mula Leyte dahil sa pagkakasabit diumano nito sa communist purge dalawang dekada na ang nakalipas.

Ang ginawang pagbasura sa Republic Act 1700 o ang Anti-Subversive Law noong panahon ni dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino ay naglalayong mahikayat ang rebeldeng grupo na pumasok sa negosasyong pangkapayapaan sa gobyerno ngunit hindi pa rin naisasakatuparan hanggang ngayon.

«The repeal of 1700 told us to be more efficient in going after them. We can’t just make arrests here and there, you have to file the appropriate charges,» hirit ni Esperon.

Samantala, nagtutulung-tulong na rin aniya ngayon ang mga legal na makakaliwang grupo at underground fronts ng komunistang kilusan upang mang-agaw ng kapangyarihan.

«These legal organizations, they say they are legal but these are supported by organizations that are largely underground and these are of course in tandem with the armed group of the CPP-NPA-NDF,» ayon sa heneral.

«What I’m saying is that they have a common aim. They are moving towards only one objective, which is the overthrow of this government and impose a communist government,» dagdag ni Esperon. (Juley Reyes)

Mar 02 2007

Sulu Balikatan 2007 Magtatapos Na!

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Mar) – Pinaghahandaan na ng militar ang pagtatapos ng Balikatan 2007 sa lalawigan ng Sulu na kung saan ay naglunsad ng ibat-ibang mga humanitarian projects ang mga sundalong Kano.

Inaasahang darating sa Sabado si Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon upang saksihan ang mga nagawang impraistruktura ng mga Kano at sundalong Pinoy. Magtatapos ang Baliktan 2007 sa susunod na linggo.

Ngunit tiniyak naman ng mga Kano na magpapatuloy pa rin ang kanilang pagtulong sa mga mahihirap na lugar sa Sulu. Nakapagpatayo ang mga Kano ng mga gusali sa lalwigan at kalsadang ngayon ay napapakinabangan ng maraming mga Muslim.

Nagsimula ang Balikatan 2007, ang codename ng joint military training, nuong Peb. 18 at umabot sa 32 mga ibat-ibang truck at bulldozers ang dinala ng mga Kano sa Sulu upang gamitin sa mga projects.

Bukod sa Sulu ay nagsagawa rin ng malaking medical mission ang mga sundalong Kano at Pinoy sa coastal Muslim barangay ng Mariki sa Zamboanga City nitong lingo at 850 mga mahihirap ang nabiyayaan.

Sa Tawi-Tawi naman ang susunod na venue ng Balikatan 2007 at ito’y dadalhin rin sa Central Mindanao. Ilang libong mga sundalo rin ang kasama sa Balikatan 2007. (Mindanao Examiner)

Feb 21 2007

Court Martial vs Coup Plotter Inaapura na!

MAYNILA (Mindanao Examiner / 21 Peb) — INIUTOS kanina ni Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., ang madaliang imbestigasyon ng General Court Martial sa 28 opisyal na idinadawit sa bigong kudeta noong Pebrero ng nakaraang taon.

Agad na pinatatakda ni Esperon kay Court Martial President at Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano ang pagbasa ng sakdal sa grupo nina dating Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, dating Scout Rangers chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim at Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin.

«I told him to convene the court immediately and go for it. Military justice must take its due course,» ani Esperon.

Gayunman, aminado si Esperon na maaari pa ring maantala ang proseso ng paglilitis sa mga sinasabing coup plotter bunsod ng kanya-kanya taktika at hamon ng mga depensa nito.

«There will be delays, but, for sure, it will be a steady process and I’m sure on February 27, we hope to finally convene the court martial,» dagdag ni Esperon.

Nakadalawang pagdinig na ang General Court Martial subalit bigo pa ring ma-arraign ang mga akusado, gayundin, ang pormal na panunumpa ng mga miyembro ng hukuman at ipagpapatuloy ito sa Pebrero 27. (Juley Reyes)

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