Friday, January 13, 2012

Navy recalls 6 of 10 officers in Pestaño case

MANILA, Philippines - Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Alexander Pama yesterday ordered the recall of six active personnel from their current assignments after they were indicted in the 1995 murder of Ensign Philip Andrew Pestaño.

Pama’s recall order was in line with the order of the Office of the Ombudsman against the 10 Navy officials indicted in the murder case.

“We’re now doing that,” Pama said in reference to his recall directive on the six Navy officers and enlisted personnel.

Navy spokesman Lt Col. Omar Tonsay said the subject of the recall order are Commander Reynaldo Lopez, executive officer of the newly acquired Navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar; Hospitalman 2nd Class Welmenio Aquino, assigned at the Navy medical dispensary; Lt. Commander Luidegar Casis, commanding officer of Navy logistic ship BRP Tausug; Lt. Commander Alfrederick Alba, executive officer of BRP Dionisio Ojeda; Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Sandy Miranda at the Navy headquarters support service, and Lt. Commander Joselito Colico, Logistics officer of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM).

All six, along with four former colleagues who are no longer connected with the Navy – retired Captain Ricardo Ordonez, retired Lt. Commander Ruben Roque, Petty Officer 1st Class Cartlito Amoroso and retired Petty Officer 2nd Class Mil Igcasan Leonor – were indicted by the Ombudsman for the murder of Pestaño.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales reversed the May 2010 decision that dismissed the case. She said there is probable cause to file charges against the respondents before the anti-graft court.

Morales also found the respondents administratively liable for grave misconduct and ordered them dismissed from the service.

Morales said there is prima facie case of conspiracy to murder Pestaño.

“The order of Admiral Pama was very clear that in this case, we will respect and abide by the rule of the law and its underlying policies that also call for the respect of the rights of the accused,” Tonsay said.

Tonsay added that they have yet to determine where the six would be confined once they are back from their units’ assignments.

He said they could be held at the Navy headquarters in Roxas Boulevard or at its Naval station at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Tonsay said the six, after submitting themselves to the legal processes, would be eventually dismissed from the service as directed by the Ombudsman.

He said the six could always question the dismissal by filing a motion for reconsideration.

“If that is really the order of the Ombudsman to discharge or dismiss them, they will be dismissed. The order of the FOIC (flag office in command) is for us to follow the rule of law, follow proper judicial and administrative procedures and respect the rights of the accused regarding due process,” he said.
By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) Updated January 13, 2012 12:00 A

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