Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mutiny charges against 16 officers recommended dropped

MUTINY CHARGES against more than half of the military officers involved in a 2006 plot to oust the government were recommended dropped for lack of evidence.

Military prosecutors told a court martial yesterday that they have recommended to military chief Gen. Alexander B. Yano the dropping of charges against 16 of the 28 military officers who tried to overthrow the Arroyo administration in February 2006.

Court martial proceedings are being held against the military officers headed by former Marine commander Ma. Gen. Renato P. Miranda and former Army Scout Ranger chief Brig. Gen. Danilo P. Lim.

Col. Feliciano Loy, head of the military prosecution panel, said the letter of recommendation to Mr. Yano "was returned without taking any action. It was neither denied nor approved."

He stopped short of disclosing the names of officials recommended for deletion from the charge list.

Mr. Yano has the authority to convene or dismiss court martial proceedings.

Trixie Angeles, lawyer for Maj. Jason Aquino, one of the accused, and collaborating counsel for Mr. Miranda, said the mutiny charges against all officials should be dismissed based on the prosecution’s admission of lack of evidence to pursue the charges.

Other defense lawyers also asked the court martial president, Maj. Gen. Jogy Leo Fojas, to direct Mr. Loy to furnish them a copy of the letter to Mr. Yano.

Mr. Loy, however, said the letter was a "personal communication between me and general Yano."

Col. Marian Aleido, a member of the court, said: "We could not grant the oral pleading to dismiss the case because we have not heard yet the evidence of the prosecution."

Mr. Loy said other evidences can be presented against the accused.

The 28 officers remain in detention pending the resolution of mutiny charges. The next hearing was set for Nov. 5.

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