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JAGO tells 40 Army, Marine officers to explain side on coup plot

- Jaime Laude -
The 40 Army and Marine officers who were accused of plotting a coup against the Arroyo administration last February were asked to submit their respective affidavits before the Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) to explain their participation in the alleged coup and counter the charges lodged against them.

Sacked Army First Scout Ranger Regiment commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim was asked to submit his affidavit on Friday while former Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, Col. Ariel Querubin and other officers were asked to submit theirs next week.

Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Information Office (AFP-PIO) chief Col. Tristan Kison said the officers would be asked to clarify their involvement in the alleged military uprising. "What really happened? Are they guilty or not?" Kison told reporters in a phone interview.

He said they would not require the charged officers to personally submit their affidavits.

Lim is currently detained at a maximum security jail at Camp Capinpin in Tanay town in Rizal with 19 other accused officers, mostly from the Scout Ranger Regiment, the elite unit Lim used to command.

Querubin is restricted to quarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Miranda, on the other hand, is not restricted but remains under the custody of Navy chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga.

"Once the JAGO consolidates their affidavits, they will be summoned to appear before the investigators," Kison said. At the end of the pre-trial investigation, the JAGO will determine if there is a prima facie case against the accused officers that will warrant the filing of military charges against them before the General Court Martial.

Retired AFP chief Gen. Generoso Senga had ordered the prosecution of the officers before he retired last July 21 based on the recommendation of the ad hoc committee headed by Rear Admiral Rufino Lopez.

The charged officers were also ordered to undergo summary dismissal proceedings before the Efficiency and Separation Board (ESB) of their respective units.

But on Monday, Marine Corps commandant Maj. Gen. Nelson Allaga announced that Miranda would not be required to face the ESB. Only 12 officers are obligated to appear before the ESB.

Allaga did not explain why Miranda was excluded but said the order came from Mayuga.

Lim and Querubin, with Miranda’s knowledge, allegedly planned to lead a mass withdrawal of support from President Arroyo last Feb. 24. The officers were supposed to lead their men to EDSA Shrine to declare their withdrawal of support from the Arroyo government.

But their plans fizzled out after Senga ordered Lim’s arrest.With Evelyn Macairan

ARIEL QUERUBIN

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES-PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

ARMY AND MARINE

CAMP AGUINALDO

CAMP CAPINPIN

DANILO LIM

EFFICIENCY AND SEPARATION BOARD

GENERAL COURT MARTIAL

GENEROSO SENGA

MIRANDA

OFFICERS

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