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GEN DANNY LIM; Esperon, Senga Involved in ’06 plot (tags)

PESANTE NEWS today learned by media sources that now it can be told—again. This time straight from the horse’s mouth as it were. Detained Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, a candidate for senator, on Friday claimed that the then Armed Forces Chief Gen. Generoso Senga and Army Chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. were his accomplices in the failed February 2006 coup plot. Lim, who appeared to be acknowledging for the first time his leadership role in the Feb. 23, 2006, coup plot, claimed that Senga and Esperon had betrayed him and his fellow plotters for what he described as “political enticements” from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “These people are turncoats and rabid opportunists. Durin

AFP seeks additional troops, P3.5B to quash insurgents (tags)

President Arroyo yesterday said she is merely awaiting the recommendation of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to approve the proposal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership to beef up its strength by six battalions to bolster the government’s campaign to stamp out the decades-old local communist insurgency. Presiding over the first AFP Command Conference of 2008 at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday morning, Mrs. Arroyo listened intently to the presentations of the military brass, led by AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on the insurgency situation and other threats to national security. Esperon reported to the President that the AFP needs six more battalions and P3.5 billion to implement its “unified command” program. In addition to the six battalions, the AFP hopes to constitute 20 more Cafgu (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) companies to help the military fight insurgency in the countryside.

Military, police raise coup d’etat alarm anew (tags)

With the prospect of an extension of the term of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., as the day of his retirement nears and with the Palace already preparing for the negative points as a result of this, both the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) leaders, along with the Defense and Interior chiefs, again raised the alarm on coups and destabilization moves by alleged rebel soldiers, saying moves are afoot to topple President Arroyo and her government, claiming that they obtained the information gathered by the intelligence community.

Philippine Marine chief in Basilan sacked (tags)

-The commander of the Marine brigade battling Muslim extremists in Basilan was sacked from his post for not personally leading his troops into battle, the military’s chief said Wednesday. The removal of Col. Ra miro Alivio, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, comes just days after heavy troop casualties in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf. Alivio would be moved to another position in the Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio “where his intelligence background will serve our organization best,” said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. He has been replaced by Col. Rus tico Guerrero, Esperon said.

SENATE PROBES US MARINES COMBAT PRESENCE IN RP (tags)

ough talk from the police and the military on arresting some 130 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf rebels whom they claimed massacred 14 Marines, with 10 of them beheaded in Basilan, and for which thousands of troops were sent to back up the elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in serving these arrest warrants, turned out to be nothing but bluster, in the military brass’ bid to get the troops to cool down their anger over the brutal slaying of their Marine comrades. The PNP yesterday returned to the court the warrants of arrests issued against 130 MILF and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) suspects after they failed to serve the warrant to any of the suspects.

State raises concession in ultimatum to MILF (tags)

Making it more apparent that it is walking on eggshells on the matter, the government yesterday said while its set deadline for it had lapsed last Sunday, its doors are still open to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender its members who were responsible for killing 14 Marines soldiers after an encounter in the island province of Basilan in the South two weeks ago. Government peace panel chief Rodolfo Garcia told reporters in an interview that even after its ultimatum had passed with the Muslim secessionist group ignoring its call, the government still hopes the MNLF’s leadership would be honorable enough to yield its members who killed 14 Marines soldiers, and even beheaded and mutilated the bodies of 10 of them, in an accidental clash in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan last July 10.

Lift terror tag, we talk' --NDF (tags)

Communist rebels are willing to resume peace talks, but only if the government initiates the dropping of the terror tag on the revolutionary movement, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman Jose Ma. Sison said yesterday. Sison said they would only return to the negotiating table when the government moves to have the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) stricken off the lists of foreign terrorist organizations drawn up by the United States and the European Union. Sison said the government must also show it is sincere about stopping the military from carrying out extrajudicial killings, while also indemnifying victims of human rights violations.

Reds reject peace overture (tags)

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday rejected a ceasefire offered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. in a bid to revive stalled peace talks. CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, in a statement from the Netherlands, where he is in self-exile, said the group will only return to the negotiating table when the Philippine government moves to have it removed from a terrorist blacklisting in the United States and Europe. He stressed the Arroyo administration must also show it is sincere about stopping the military from carrying out political killings, while also indemnifying victims of human rights violations.

Ermita raises possibility of political pardon to Honasan, Trillanes (tags)

Malacañang yesterday floated the possibility of Presi-dent Arroyo granting senators-elect Gregorio Honasan and Antonio Trillanes IV political amnesty in the spirit of reconciliation, good governance and national progress, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) quoted Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as saying yesterday. In his regular media briefing this afternoon in Malacañang, Ermita was said to have cited the President’s policy of extending her hand of reconciliation to detractors of her administration, including armed rebels and political leaders.

Mutineer’ calls court-martial illegal, asks SC to stop trial (tags)

ndicted Marine Col. Ariel Querubin yesterday petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the military tribunal from trying him on charges of mutiny for his alleged part in the February 2006 “withdrawal of support” from President Arroyo by members of the Philippine Marine Corps. In a 33-page petition, Querubin’s lawyer Rodrigo Artuz elevated the case to the SC after the Court of Appeals (CA) this month turned down the colonel’s appeal to stop the court-martial proceedings against him. The charges are in connection with the attempted mutiny charges filed against Querubin and 29 other military officers for their alleged plan to withdraw their support from Mrs. Arroyo. Querubin is detained at the Fort San Felipe Detention Center, Naval Base Compound, Sangley Point, Cavite province.

Esperon, other officials say Davao prison warned of NPA raid (tags)

Officers of the Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte had been warned of a possible assault by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, Armed forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and other security officials disclosed yesterday. This came after media sources reported that an NPA band led by Mindanao Regional Guerrilla Unit-Pulang Bagani Command commander Leonardo Pitao ransacked the armory of the penal farm and took over 100 guns in a pre-dawn raid on Easter Sunday. The guerrillas carted away 50 M-16 and carbine rifles, 46 shotguns and seven pistols from the prison armory after disarming four guards, police said. They did not attempt to free any of the about 4,000 convicted criminals detained in the prison complex during the 20-minute raid that was staged without a shot being fired, police said, adding there were no injuries.

Hold (Philippine President) Arroyo Regime and Military Accountable for Extrajudicial Killi (tags)

The press statement of the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and special executions Prof. Philip Alston and the report of the Melo commission put forward important findings and conclusions that hold the Arroyo regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accountable for extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations from 2001 to the present.

Military officers involved in last year’s coup plot ordered detained (tags)

— Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. ordered the detention here of all the military officers involved in last year’s foiled coup attempt. Esperon effectively wanted all those implicated in the power grab detained in one facility, directing the various commands to relinquish custody of the 28 officers charged before the General Court Martial to effectively acquire jurisdiction over them. The announcement came after the arraignment of the 28 accused officers was rescheduled after defense lawyers demanded to see a copy of the pre-trial investigation.

Alston press statement and Melo commission report (tags)

The press statement of the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and special executions Prof. Philip Alston and the report of the Melo commission put forward important findings and conclusions that hold the Arroyo regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accountable for extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations from 2001 to the present.

Naval blockade in Sulu (tags)

The Philippine armed forces fielded more than 10 warships around Sulu in what could be the single biggest naval blockade meant to trap Abu Sayyaf terrorists in their lair. Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said yesterday the naval blockade formed part of the "small unit tactics" designed to eventually wipe out local and foreign terrorists holed out in Sulu, as part of the military’s ongoing offensive dubbed Oplan Ultimatum

AFP: Peace pact with MILF by April (tags)

A peace agreement with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is expected early this year, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. disclosed yesterday. "A final peace agreement with the MILF would be signed by March or April," Esperon told a press conference held at the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters here. The contentious issues affecting the peace negotiations, particularly disputes over ancestral domain, are now being discussed by both panels, said Esperon, who arrived here as part of a series of camp visits to implement the second phase of President Arroyo’s campaign against insurgency.

US- RP Balikatan( Shoulder to Shoulder) War Exercises to resume in February (tags)

The BALIKATAN (Shoulder to Shoulder) joint war exercises between Filipino and American troops will resume in February, an official of the US Embassy in Manila said Monday. "In February we will start again the Balikatan, US " Charges d'Affaires Paul Jones told reporters here after attending a military command conference presided over by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

AFP gets P10-billion hardware shop list (tags)

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be embarking on a spending spree with President Arroyo approving on Friday a P10-billion shopping list for military hardware. The President and concurrent defense secretary gave AFP brass the green light to bid out 14 contracts. Mrs. Arroyo also on Friday vowed to defeat communist and secessionist rebels in Mindanao before her term of office ends in 2010.

Esperon: AFP to wipe out NPA rebels in next 3 years (tags)

The military announced an intensified offensive against communist rebels in the country, vowing to wipe out the insurgency over the next three years, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said.

AFP orders court-martial to 30 officers (tags)

TWO generals and 28 other military officers will face court-martial for their alleged participation in the abortive coup against the Arroyo administration in February. The two generals to face court-martial are Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, former Marine Corps commandant and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, former commander of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment.

Philippine Military To hire 9,000 militia to end insurgency by 2010 (tags)

The military will recruit 3,000 new soldiers and 9,000 additional militiamen to boost the counterinsurgency campaign and end the communist uprising by 2010, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said yesterday. Esperon said President Arroyo approved the recruitment of 9,000 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgus) and 3,000 troopers to be deployed in areas threatened by communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as part of the government’s intensified counterinsurgency drive.

AJLPP-USA Protests AFP Operations Despite Ramadan in Sulu, Mindanao (tags)

The Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace (AJLPP) –USA and its allied organizations vehemently protests and condemns the Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon’s announcement Monday that military offensives against suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines will continue throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan

AJLPP-USA Protests AFP Operations Despite Ramadan in Sulu, Mindanao (tags)

The Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace (AJLPP) –USA vehemently protests and condemns the newly promoted and confirmed Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon’s announcement Monday that military offensives against suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines will continue throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the siland of Sulu and elsewhere.

Sulu offensives to continue through Ramadan – AFP Chief (tags)

Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. announced Monday. that military offensives against suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines will continue throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan

AFP ASSESSMENT THAT THEY WILL ERADICATE THE NPA BY 2010- A BIG BLUFF (tags)

The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante)-USA - a human rights, environemtal and a peasant advocacy network based in Los Angeles, called the AFP assessment that they will destroy the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2010, at the end of the President Arroyo’s term “ A big bluff and an empty pipe dream!.”

NPA'S BEATEN BY 2010- AFP (tags)

Government forces are geared up to accomplish their mission to neutralize the communist New People’s Army (NPA) before President Arroyo ends her term by 2010, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon declared yesterday

PESANTE CONDEMNS AFP RED BAITING (tags)

Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently condemns AFP Chief General Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines. “Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

Aussie army chief gets briefing on hunt for JI leaders (tags)

Pesante-USA condemns Australia- A US junior imperialist partner in Southeast Asia's intervention in Philippine affairs. The chief of the Australian army secretly visited the southern Philippines yesterday for a briefing on the progress of the manhunt for two Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants behind the October 2002 Bali bombings. Lt. Gen. Peter Leahy flew here from Jolo, Sulu where he was updated on the hunt for Umar Patek and Dulmatin, both wanted for their involvement in the 2002 bombings on the popular Indonesian resort island that killed 202 people, 88 of them Australians.

PHILIPPPINE MILITARY CHIEF CALLS BAYAN MUNA's OCAMPO, CASINO -"ENEMIES OF THE STATE.& (tags)

Philippine ARMED FORCES of the Philippines chief of staff, General Hermogenes Esperon yesterday said some party-list representatives, including Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, were enemies of the state hiding behind the legitimate cover of their organization, Bayan Muna. On the other hand, the Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently criticized Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines. “Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

AFP 6,000 TROOPS NOW PURSUING ABU SAYAFF IN SULU (tags)

Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon disclosed on Monday that 6,000 government troops have been deployed to intensify the ongoing pursuit operations against the band of Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani and two Jemaah Islamiyah bomb experts in the jungles of Sulu.

AFP Southcom split into 2 commands (tags)

Southcom split into 2 commands By Jaime Laude The Philippine Star 08/27/2006 The military’s biggest troop contingent in Mindanao will be deactivated and split into two separate commands effective today. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said the Southern Command under Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon will be divided into the Western Mindanao Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command. Esperon stressed the division of the Southcom into two military units is for a more effective control and deployment of troops in the whole of Mindanao. Maj. Gen. Eugenio Cedo has been designated as first commander of the Western Mindanao Command that will be based at the Southcom headquarters at Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. On the other hand, the Eastern Mindanao Command to be based in Davao City will be under the command of Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana. Esperon explained the split of Southcom is necessary for better control of the troops and to put more focus on the fight against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in the eastern part of Mindanao, and the fight against the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups in the western part of the region. Southcom, which has responsibility over the whole of Mindanao, is composed of three Army divisions, two joint task forces, two naval forces, a tactical operations wing of the Air Force, two elite Special Forces battalions and one company of troops from the Light Reaction Battalion. Esperon said there would be some redeployment of troops where their presence is mostly needed. The Southcom comprises roughly 60 percent of the 120,000-strong military, all under its administrative and operational control. "These two targets (Islamic extremists and communist rebels) are very important that’s why we assigned two commanders there. With the split, we believe that the commanders will be more focused," Esperon said. Esperon said the decision to split Southcom into two units is a strategic move to sustain the pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. The decision, however, left Habacon with no unit to command. Habacon, one of the remaining so-called "Garci generals," said the deactivation of the Southcom will mean the closure of his military career. He opted to retire early, with only a few days left on his active service before his mandatory retirement on Sept. 9 on reaching the age of 56. "He (Habacon) decided to retire early due to personal reasons. He may have planned it earlier," Southcom spokesman Col. Susthenes Valcorza explained yesterday. Esperon will preside over the deactivation of Southcom today, on the same occasion where Habacon will be given retirement honors, Valcorza said. When asked if the splitting of the Southcom prompted Habacon to seek early retirement, Valcorza replied: "It could be one of the reasons." Habacon was among the generals mentioned in the controversial wiretap recordings that became an issue against President Arroyo. Aside from Habacon, among the generals mentioned to have helped in the rigging of the results of the May 10, 2004 elections in Mindanao include retired Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, former Southcom chief and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani, along with Esperon. Kyamko has already retired when the tapes were leaked in June 2005. Gudani retired in October that same year, days after he exposed alleged cheating operations in Central Mindanao before a Senate investigation. A military fact-finding board headed by Navy Chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga cleared the four generals of involvement in the alleged cheating operations.

Esperon says no quarter for NPA (tags)

Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the new Armed Forces chief of staff, on Friday vowed to crush the communist rebellion during his term. Esperon, former Army chief, became the AFP’s 35th chief of staff. He replaced Gen. Generoso Senga, who retired Friday. He said he would lead efforts to foil attempts to vilify the AFP as an institution. The government has a two-year plan to defeat the communist New People’s Army.

New AFP Chief Esperon vows to crush insurgency (tags)

New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon vowed yesterday to crush the 37-year-old communist insurgency during his watch, saying he would devote his last years as a soldier to finish the task. "The President has renewed her call for the defeat of the insurgents ... I welcome the challenge," Esperon said in a speech as he formally took the helm of the 117,000-strong AFP.

Esperon’s marching orders: Crush Reds (tags)

President Arroyo has given incoming Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon his marching orders: Crush the 37-year-old communist rebellion and the groups plotting to destabilize the administration.

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