Philippine Communist guerilla to be dismantled?

Friday, April 25, 2008
Lim: Esperon is a shame to AFP
April 25, 2008
Jaime Pilapil

In a fiery verbal exchange yesterday, former First Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim called Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. a “pimp in the prostitution of the military”, while the latter retorted back and called him a “megalomaniac”.

Lim fired his verbal assault from Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City during the resumption of the court martial in connection with the Feb. 2006 alleged coup, while Esperon retaliated through an “all caps” text message to the reporters who sought his reaction.

When asked to assess the performance of Esperon as AFP chief, Lim said:”No one has brought more shame to the institution…(He is) the pimp in the prostitution of the military establishment.” Esperon assumed the top AFP post on July 21, 2006. He was supposed to end his term last Feb. 9, but it was extended for three more months, with the promise to dismantle 17 communist guerilla fronts.

Esperon, during a command conference last Thursday, reported a “remarkable” accomplishment in the fight against insurgency and terrorism, saying eight of the 18 target guerilla fronts were dismantled in the first quarter.

Obviously in angry mode, Esperon lashed out at Lim, sending a lengthy text message to reporters:”Let us not dignify the statement of a megalomaniac destabilizer who thinks he is the savior of the Philippines. Rather, let us exalt soldiers, both in the front lines and in garrison who make it a point to contribute, no matter how small and lowly, to overall mission. Many even are outstanding, continue risking their lives and accomplish more than self-proclaimed heroes, yet they remain humble and simply keep on soldiering. They are contented in the silent thought that they could be the best in their chosen fields on vocations. They also respect their comrades’ capabilities. They never think that only them could be good.”

Meanwhile, in a related development, the prosecution panel told the court that they intend to present ten witnesses, and that Esperon will be the first witness. Upon hearing the name of Esperon, the defense lawyers rejoiced , saying they will have time in court to grill the outgoing AFP Chief.

“We really want to confront General Esperon. We will grill him for sure,” lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

The military court has set the next hearing on May 6, after the arraignment did not push through yesterday since only four of the accused, including Lim, attended the hearing.

Lim together with 27 others are facing various infraction of the Articles of War in connection with the Feb. 2006 mutiny. Other well-known co-accused senior officers are former Marines commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Commandant and Medal of Valor recipient Colonel Ariel Querubin.

Querubin, Miranda and Lim are being tried for violations of Articles of War 67 (mutiny or sedition), Article 96 (conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman) and Article 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline). -30

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