AFP assures griping Col. Generoso Mariano of due process
The retired Marine colonel who called for the ouster of President Benigno Aquino III in a video posted in the Internet will be given due process even though the Department of Justice has recommended that he be charged with sedition, the Armed Forces said.
Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, the AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations who is also the military spokesperson, said the AFP recognized retired Col. Generoso Mariano’s “constitutional right of presumption of innocence unless proven guilty”.
He said the DoJ’s opinion that Mariano was liable for sedition would still be subject to the findings of the military’s four-man investigating committee.
It will be up to the committee to determine whether Mariano will be tried and on what charges, he said.
“If the investigation committee finds that he’s liable then he has to face those charges,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.
Court martial begins
Mariano’s court martial began on Wednesday with a preliminary investigation. But the hearing of the investigating panel headed by Marine deputy commandant Brig. Gen. Eugene Clemen was closed to the media on Mariano’s request.
In the July 3 video that was shown in YouTube and Facebook online sites, Mariano said “if the government has no intention or has failed to save the lives of the majority, it is the duty, it is the right of every Filipino, including soldiers, to replace the government.”
Mariano retired on July 17 upon reaching the mandatory age of 56. But he has been restricted to quarters in Fort Bonifacio.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Mariano violated Articles of War 63 (disrespect toward the President), 67 (mutiny or sedition), 91 (provoking speeches or gestures) and 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer).
Ariel Querubin, a retired Marine colonel who was detained and court-martialed for his involvement in a coup attempt against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006, has insisted that Mariano’s statements were taken out of context.
Querubin, who was freed after President Aquino amnestied all those implicated in coup plots against Arroyo, claimed Mariano was not talking about the Aquino government.
“I can vouch for him that he is not working for GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo),” said Querubin, who claimed Mariano was a frequent visitor when he was in detention.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez on Wednesday said military adventurism was a “thing of the past” and warned those so inclined they would have to answer for it.
“If you transgress, you have to be accountable for your actions,” Rodriguez told the Palace-organized “Pilipinas Natin’’ program aired on state television.
Rodriguez said he could not ensure that there would no longer be any political statements made like Mariano’s as “it was the right of every person to express himself”.
But he stressed this was not true for members of the Armed Forces who he said “subscribe to a bigger responsibility” and “give up certain rights as individuals.”
Making political statements is “not part of our role,” he said.
Lessons from adventurism
The role of the military is to “protect the people, secure the territory and uphold the sovereignty of the state,” he said.
He said military adventurism was something that “we have learned great lessons from.”
Nothing happened when some members of the military ventured into coup attempts, he said.
“The proper role of the military is to support civil government in development,” Rodriguez said. With reports from Christine Avendaño
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