Mutineers don’t deserve amnesty – ex-AFP chief

IF FORMER Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. will have his way, soldiers who staged several mutinies during the nine-year term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not be granted amnesty.

For one, Esperon said, this will only encourage some military officers to engage in rebellion since they can expect the next administration to grant them amnesty.

Because of this, he said, amnesty does not guarantee that military adventurism will not be repeated in the future.

“My prayer is that other officers and enlisted personnel, especially those that are still in the active service, will not commit the same acts in the future with the false hope that they will be granted amnesty,” Esperon told defense reporters over phone patched interview.

Yesterday, Malacañang announced that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has signed Proclamation no. 50 granting amnesty to soldiers involved in the Oakwood Mutiny, February 2006 standoff and the Manila Peninsula siege on 2007.

The proclamation, if concurred by Congress, could pave the way for the release from detention of all military officers and personnel involved in the said incidents, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who is detained in Camp Crame.

Esperon, who helped quell some of the uprisings under the Arroyo administration, added: “My second prayer is that those who will be given amnesty this time… will not become recidivists.”

The former military chief was referring to former Scout Ranger chief Brig. General Danilo Lim and Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, who were believed to be behind the foiled coup attempt in February 2006.

Lim and Querubin were founding members of the Young Officers Union (YOU), which was involved in the December 1989 coup attempt, the bloodiest military uprising during the term of late President Corazon Aquino. Anthony Vargas

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