ZAMBOANGA: MUTINY AN 'ACT OF BETRAYAL' - KYAMKO

Zamboanga City, July 28, 2003 By Roel Pareño (Star) An act of betrayal of the Constitution.

This was how Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, chief of the Armed Forces’ Southern Command (Southcom), described the mutiny by at least 200 disillusioned young military officers and enlisted men in Makati City yesterday.

He said taking over a privately owned property to make a public statement is not a coup d’etat but "military adventurism and is mutinous in character."

"The Southern Command, all its officers, men and women, condemn strongly this act of betrayal of their oath as soldiers and defenders of the people and our Constitution," Kyamko said.

The Southcom is the largest military command outside Metro Manila with three Army divisions, two Marine brigades, the Naval Forces South and the 3rd Tactical Wing of the Philippine Air Force in its fold.

Its scope of operations is the entire Mindanao.

Kyamko said there was no unauthorized movement of soldiers in the South.

Southcom, he added, would never take part in any activity that would undermine the chain of command of the Armed Forces.

"The Southcom will prevent any of this adventurism and shall not be part or an instrument to undermine the chain of command," Kyamko said.

He said his command solidly supports the Constitution and all its recognized authorities headed by President Arroyo.

Meanwhile, support for the Arroyo administration poured in yesterday from all over the country even as some politicians issued pleas to end the standoff peacefully.

Opposition Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. urged the mutineers to immediately put an end to their unrest for the interest of the nation.

He said the mutiny will not do the country any good and it will only provide another setback to the country’s economic development.

Isabela Rep. Faustino Dy III said the National People’s Coalition (NPC) was extremely saddened by the mutiny and would "resist any form of power-grabbing."

Dy is a brother of Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy Jr., the NPC’s national president. — With Edith Regalado, Charlie Lagasca, Eva Visperas, Antonieta Lopez, Teddy Molina and Eladio Perfecto

MNLF airs support for Arroyo administration By John Unson (Star) 07/28/2003

COTABATO CITY — The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) assured the administration of President Arroyo of its full support yesterday, saying that its former combatants now integrated into the Armed Forces as part of the 1996 peace accord, remain loyal to the Constitution.

Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, the MNLF’s secretary general, said senior MNLF members now holding key positions in different Army units in Mindanao assured the MNLF central committee yesterday that they would remain loyal to the President and the Armed Forces’ chain of command.

"They assured the MNLF leadership that they are for peace, that they detest the use of violence as a means of seeking redress," Sema said.

He added: "If there is one sector that has experienced the bitterness of pursuing an armed struggle to further a cause, it is the MNLF. The MNLF has learned, from its 30-year revolt, that no sensible objective can ever be achieved through the muzzle of the gun. All conflicts can be resolved only through peaceful negotiations."

In a statement, the Maguindanao peace and order council, chaired by Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan, said the provincial government and all the 26 municipal mayors also support the Arroyo administration.

Datu Antao Midtimbang, mayor of the newly created Pindulungan town and a member of the 23,000-member Tableegh, a congregation of Muslim preachers in Mindanao, said they were confident that the mutiny by a band of young military officers would be peacefully resolved.

"As far as we (religious leaders) are concerned, we are for peace. We support the administration of President Arroyo," said Midtimbang, a scion of an influential Muslim clan in Maguindanao.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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