Rebellion raps filed vs 49 suspected coup plotters
Quezon City (13 October) -- REBELLION charges have been filed before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against 49 people allegedly involved in a foiled coup in February.
The joint complaint of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday, accused 22 military officers, 3 police officers, 3 businessmen, 3 civilians, and 24 others of involvement in the alleged plot to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among those named in the complaint are Don Pepe Araneta, former senator Gregorio Honasan, Council on Philippine Affairs COPA chair Pastor “Boy” Saycon, Marine Major General Renato Miranda, Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, Colonels Orlando De Leon, Ariel Querubin and Januario Caringal;
Magdalo group members Angelbert Gay, Sonny Sarmiento, Lawrence San Juan, and Aldrin Baldonado; retired officers Felix Turingan and Jake Malajacan; Rafael Galvez, Victor Acosta, lawyers Ruel Pulido and Christopher Belmonte, Christina "Friday" Antonio, Renato Constantino;
Former University of the Philippines president Francisco Nemenzo, Betina Balderama, Michael Yangzon, Maui Constantino, Nilo De la Cruz, and a certain “Sam.”
Alleged members of the communist revolutionary movement, such as Tirso Alcantara, tagged as a ranking rebel commander, are also among those charged.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the case is based mainly on the testimonies of First Lieutenant Patricio Bumidang and Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Kiram Sadava, members of the Magdalo, a group of junior officers who staged a short-lived mutiny in 2003, who have reaffirmed their allegiance to the government.
Based on the complaint, despite the failed plot, the so-called “destabilizers” continued to plot the government’s downfall and recruit more people into their ranks.
Among the methods they allegedly used was to send messages over MMS (multimedia messaging service) cellular phones that showed the images of Querubin and Lim to lure military personnel.
The complaint also alleged that part of the plot to bring down the government was for renegade military officers to assault and take control of the Batasang Pambansa, where the House of Representatives holds session, to force lawmakers to look into allegations that the administration rigged the 2004 elections and other controversies.
In their affidavits, Bumidang and Sadava claimed Belmonte convinced them to attack the properties of personalities identified with the administration in an operation supposedly patterned on the “Tet Offensive” launched by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
Among these alleged targets was the LTA Building owned by the family of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, which was attacked on December 7, 2005, and the home of Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.
They also claimed the July 1 bombing of the vehicle of Batangas Governor Armando Sanchez, in which the official was seriously injured and two of his aides killed, was part of this operation.
Although among those accused, part of the case was built on the affidavit of San Juan who, like Sadava and Bumidang, has reaffirmed his loyalty to the government.
In the affidavit he submitted to the NBI, San Juan said the Makabayang Kawal ng Pilipinas, the new name of the Magdalo, had forged an alliance with communist rebels.
Gonzalez said other persons could still be added to the complaint as "other documents are still being evaluated."
The case, he added, will be assigned to an investigation panel of senior and state prosecutors.
Once filed in court, Gonzalez said the complaint will be consolidated with a rebellion case pending before the Makati City Regional Trial Court. (PIA) [top]