COPS BREAK UP 'JUSTICE FOR MUTINEERS' RALLY IN METRO

MANILA, September 4, 2003 (STAR) Anti-riot police rounded up six persons calling for justice for the July 27 mutineers during a rally in front of the Supreme Court building in Manila yesterday morning.

Arrested were Rogelio Megano, 49, a Caloocan City traffic enforcer; Joselito de Leon, 43, a vendor; Nilo Discaya, 38; Roberto Cabalat, 48; Sarah Jane Rosales, 49; and Renz Escobar, 32.

Police said Escobar is the vice president of Alternatibong Kilos Tugon sa Iisang Bayan (AKTIB), an organization allegedly affiliated with the pro-Estrada People’s Movement Against Poverty (PMAP).

Elements of the Western Police District‘s anti-riot unit rounded up the six rallyists at around 10 a.m. yesterday, some 30 minutes after they started the rally.

The protesters, who were joined by members of the Kapit Bisig Masang Pilipino (KBMP), were also pressing for the immediate resignation of Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

WPD spokesman Chief Inspector Gerry Agunod said the rallyists had no permit to hold a rally, prompting anti-riot cops to arrest them.

"Apart from illegal assembly, nanggulo pa sila habang nagrarally kaya hinuli ng mga pulis," Agunod said.

He warned other rallyists, regardless of their affiliation, to first secure permits from the Manila City Hall or face dispersal by the police.

"We are not trying to suppress the freedom to express one’s opinion, but every group must follow the ‘no permit, no rally policy’ of the government," Agunod explained. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

AFP releases 47 Magdalo mutineers The Philippine Star 09/04/2003

Armed Forces chief Gen. Narciso Abaya ordered the release yesterday of 47 junior officers who were linked to a July mutiny against the government, and denied rumors that five top generals had resigned.

Abaya warned that anyone spreading the rumors would be regarded as a "threat group out to undermine the government and duly constituted authority."

On July 27, about 300 soldiers calling themselves the Magdalo group and led by young captains from the Army, Marines and Navy special forces occupied the upscale Oakwood Premier Ayala Center apartments and Glorietta shopping complex in Makati City and rigged the area with bombs.

The mutineers announced they were breaking away from the chain of command and accused the government of President Arroyo of corruption. They demanded the resignation of the President, along with then Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and then military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus.

Abaya also said the rumors about the resignation of five top generals, including army commander Lt. Gen. Gregorio Camiling, were part of an effort "to sow intrigue, undermine the cohesiveness of the (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and create dissension within our ranks."

"I call on all our soldiers to close ranks, adhere to the chain of command and not to entertain these unfounded rumors," he said. "I would like to assure our public that ongoing efforts to divide and destabilize the esprit de corps of the AFP shall not prevail."

Meanwhile, the Feliciano Commission remains unconvinced about the legitimacy of the evidence recovered by the ISAFP from the Oakwood.

The evidence was allegedly left behind by the mutineers, according to ISAFP member Capt. Rex Sagge, who was in charge of recovering the evidence on July 27.

Sagge was summoned by the commission for the second time yesterday to expound on how he went about performing his task.

The commission questioned Sagge’s statements in light of previous testimony provided by Oakwood general manager Robert Rosetti, who said his staff reported that nothing was left behind by the Magdalo group when housekeeping began work on the morning of July 28.

According to Sagge, he and fellow ISAFP Capt. Windell Rebong entered the Oakwood at noon and recovered over 20 boxes containing communications equipment, food and other materials left behind by the Magdalo group.

The evidence included 10 partially destroyed diskettes allegedly dumped into the common toilet on the Oakwood’s 6th floor lobby.

Rosetti testified that the condotel’s housekeeping staff went through the Oakwood’s rooms at 8 a.m. on July 28 and reported that nothing was missing and that the rebel soldiers left nothing behind. — AP and Marvin Sy


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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