10 mutineers to be freed in Philippines

08:11, April 19, 2010      

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Philippine Armed Forces chief Delfin Bangit ordered the release of 10 members of the mutinous Magdalo Group on Sunday, on the recommendation of the military tribunal, the military said Sunday.

The 10, including Magdalo core leaders James Layug, were sentenced eight months in prison by a military court on April 7 after pleading guilty to offenses filed against them in relation to the November 2007 siege of the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City, Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, public affairs office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The 10 occupied the hotel along with now Sen. Antonio Trillanies, former Scout Ranger chief now senatorial candidate Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and at-large Capt. Nicanor Faeldon on November 2007. They subsequently withdrew their support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whom they called a "bogus president."

Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant, was not charged before the military court in connection with the siege as he was already a civilian at the time. Lim remains charged before the military court for the same offenses.

The 10 were among the dozens of military officers also charged before another military tribunal for the Oakwood mutiny. They have pleaded guilty and subsequently discharged from the service a few years ago.

"After deliberately reviewing the case, the Chief of Staff approved the sentence of the court and order that the 10 officers be freed unless there are legal constraint that warrant their continued detention," said Burgos.

"The military court has exercised proper impartiality on deciding on this case," Burgos quoted Bangit as saying.

The lawyer of the 10, Ed Abaya, said the signing of the release order was definitely a good news for them.

Source: Xinhua


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