Fri, Mar 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Philippine military names additional mutiny suspects


The Philippine army said yesterday that it was questioning more officers and enlisted men for their suspected involvement in an alleged coup plot last month.

Major General Hermogenes Esperon, the army chief, confirmed that Lieutenant Colonel Nestor Flordeliza, the sacked chief of staff of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment, and Captain Ruben Guinolbay, a Scout Ranger company commander, were among those to be questioned.

Esperon refused to say how many army personnel were being questioned. But another army official who spoke on condition of anonymity said eight Scout Ranger officers and 17 enlisted men were being investigated and had been restricted to quarters.

The official alleged the 25 men attempted to join an aborted march on Feb. 24 to be led by relieved Scout Ranger commander Brigadier General Danilo Lim, during which soldiers were supposed to withdraw support from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Two of the officers and the 17 enlisted men stationed in eastern Camarines Sur Province were intercepted by forces loyal to Arroyo, while the rest were prevented from leaving their camp by fellow soldiers, the official said.

Esperon told reporters investigators are looking into different offenses, including a failure to quell a possible mutiny, inciting and participation in mutiny.

"We have to be thorough about the investigation as we intend to throw the full force of the law against those whom we find to have committed offenses," he said.

On Wednesday, Lim denied accusations he was part of an attempt to overthrow the Arroyo government or that he forged an alliance with communist rebels.

Esperon, however, claimed that Lim told General Generoso Senga, the military chief, that he planned to join the Feb. 24 march.

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