Friday, March 01, 2013

Acquitted military officer in Basilan bloodbath reinstated

MANILA, Philippines - Col. Alexander Macario, one of the officers charged for violating some provisions of the Articles of War (AW) in connection with the October 2011 Basilan bloodbath, was designated as the new Inspector General (IG) of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro City, it was learned Thursday.

A member the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class 1985, Macario assumed his new position Feb. 27. He replaced Col. Ferdinand Quidilla (PMA “Matikas” Class 1983), who is designated as the new commander of the 402nd Infantry “Stinger” Brigade.

Last November, Macario, former commander of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) was acquitted by a General Court Martial for “insufficiency of evidence.” Also acquitted was Lt. Col. Orlando Edralin, former commander of the Special Task Force Basilan and Special Forces School. Both were charged for allegedly violating AW 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) and AW 97 (Disorders and Neglects to the Prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline).

“[Col. Macario has] my confidence and he is the right person for this designation and I believe that he can equal or even surpassed what Col. Quidilla has accomplished,” 4th ID commander Maj. Gen. Nestor Añonuevo said.

Last January, the same court found guilty Col. Amikandra Undug, former commander of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), for violating AW 96 and 97. His case is on appeal before the office of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.

At the same time, the court is still hearing the case of Lt. Col. Leonard Peña, former commanding officer of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, for allegedly violating AW 96, 97, and 84 (Willful or Negligent Loss, Damage or Wrongful Disposition).

The officers’ case stemmed from the October 18 daylong firefight of less than 100 soldiers against more than 400 combined Muslim rebels and Abu bandits in Barangay Cambug, Al-Barka town that resulted to the death of 19 soldiers and 14 others seriously injured.

The rebels were from the 114th base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) led by Long Malat Sulayman and Furuji Indama, respectively.

The soldiers, who were in the area to serve arrest warrants of lawless personalities when attacked, did not coordinate with the Muslim rebels who were in peace talks with the government.

Jaime Sinapit | | February 28, 2013 | Article Link

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