Three years ago
Three years ago, on this day, there were talks of restlessness in the military as more first-hand accounts of how the military was used as cheating operators in the 2004 elections were being shared by the soldiers themselves.
Eight months earlier, on June 6, 2005 then Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye revealed the existence of a taped conversation between Gloria Arroyo and then Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano about manipulating the results of the election in Muslim Mindanao to offset the huge lead posted by opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr. in Luzon.
Gloria Arroyo apologized on TV for “talking to an election officer” which is prohibited by law. “A confessed felon,” lawyer Francisco Chavez said.
As Malacañang raised the alert in military camps and ordered a clampdown on street demonstrations, there were talks of the plan by upright military and officers and police officers to join a multisectoral rally that would be joined by church and business groups the next day in their uniform and their firearms but with the nozzles down. That was to indicate that the soldiers were there in unity with the people and not to fight and fire.
In the evening, at about 9 p.m. AFP chief Generoso Senga called for a meeting of ranking officials at his official residence in Camp Aguinaldo. Among those in the meeting were Brig. Gen. Danny Lim of the First Scout Ranger Regiment; Marine Col. Ariel Querubin. It was talked about that at least a combined force of over 1,000 Rangers and Marines would be joining the protest rally.
Also in that meeting were Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, commandant of the Philippine Marines and Chief Superintendent Marcelino Franco. who had first-hand knowledge of Arroyo’s crime of tampering with the election results.
It was Franco’s Special Action Force, the elite unit of the Philippine National Police that undertook the switching of the genuine election returns being stored at the Batasan Pambansa building with manufactured ones allegedly upon orders of former PNP Chief Hermogenes Ebdane, who was named public works secretary.
Some 1,000 were reportedly SAF were reportedly hot on joining the protest rally.
Others in that meeting were then Army Chief Hermogenes Esperon and Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, FOIC, Philippine Navy; Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes, Philippine Air Force chief; and the AFP intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang.
The plan to join the mass protest didn’t push through. Miranda, Lim, Querubin and 25 other Marine and Army officers were charged with mutiny, conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman and conduct to good order and military discipline.
Illegitimacy continues to haunt Arroyo’s presidency as she has blocked every attempt to uncover the truth about the cheating in the 2004 election. Those who helped her in thwarting the will of the people and the subsequent cover up have been richly rewarded. The 28 military officers continue to be in detention.