MANILA, August 29, 2003 (MALAYA) By CHELOY GARAFIL  - Edsa 2 stole a legal election and unseated a duly-elected president.

That was how Comm. (ret.) Rex Robles, a member of the Feliciano Commission, openly differentiated the two successful people power events in the country at the continuation of the hearings yesterday on the Oakwood incident.

As the hearing centered on how military intervention played a major role in civilian uprisings in the country, Robles engaged witness Col. Danny Lim, commander of the Scout Ranger Regiment, in a discussion on how the military intervened in areas where they should not have been.

"Tell me if you agree with me, Col. Lim that Edsa 1 started as purely a military exercise while in Edsa 2, military intervention was solicited," Robles said.

He then added, "Edsa 1 was trying to restore an election that was stolen from the people in the context of the snap elections in 1986. Edsa 2 went one step further by actually stealing the results of a legal election and unseating a duly-elected president. Do you agree, Col. Lim?"

Lim responded by saying he fully agreed and that the question of legitimacy of the present administration was still a big issue.

Lim, who was among those who staged the 1989 coup against the Aquino administration, added that one of the root causes of the problems in the military is how military intervention was allowed to flourish.

"What happened in Edsa 2, I believe, was the military chain of command was pushed, encouraged to do something that was outside military concerns. Edsa 1 went in the same manner but what would be the difference between Edsa 1 and 2 and the failed coups as far as the causes which motivate men in uniform to do these things. It is not a judgment of whether one was moral or not. It is precisely that these things happen because men in uniform are part of society," he said.

Lt. Col. Eduardo Oban of the Philippine Air Force, a member of the negotiating team in the Oakwood incident, also told the Feliciano Commission that the mutineers had every right to feel betrayed when the government violated the aspect of criminal prosecution which was included in the terms of agreement.

"What was not agreed upon should not be a part of future efforts. If what was talked about was court martial and the military justice system, then we should stick to what was discussed," he said.

He said the terms of agreement "included the return of the rebellious soldiers under military control, the five core leaders will face the consequences of their actions and the rest will be subjected to the Articles of War."

He also said that both panels did not bother to discuss the criminal aspect.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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