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Specpro-Aquino vs Esperon

Specpro-Aquino vs Esperon

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Published by: Sui on Mar 05, 2011
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The Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus of theperson of ARMY MAJOR JASON LAUREANOAQUINO, PA MARIA FE S. AQUINO,
Petitioner, -
versus
- 
LT. GEN. HERMOGENES C. ESPERON, AFP,* in his capacity as Commanding General,Philippine Army, and the Custodial Officer orCommander, Army Detention Center, G2-21D,Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal,** 
Respondents.
G.R. No. 174994
 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO,
J.
Chairperson,QUISUMBING,*** SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,****AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, andCHICO-NAZARIO,
JJ.
 Promulgated: August 31, 2007D E C I S I O N CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: At bar is a Petition for Review on
Certiorari
underRule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking tonullify the Decision dated 31 August 2006, of the Courtof Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. No. 95341, which deniedpetitioner Maria Fe S. Aquino’s Petition for the Issuanceof a Writ o
Habeas Corpus
for the person of herhusband, Army Major Jason Laureano Aquino (MajorAquino) of the First Scout Ranger Regiment, SpecialOperation Command of the Philippine Army, and theResolution dated 5 October 2006, of the same courtwhich denied reconsideration of its earlier Decision.The facts leading to the arrest of Major Aquino, asset forth in the Solicitor General’s brief, show that on 3February 2006, Major Aquino, along with several militarymen, namely, Major Leomar Jose M. Doctolero, CaptainJoey T. Fontiveros, Captain Montano B. Aldomovar,Captain Isagani Criste, and Captain James Sababa,allegedly met at the resthouse of Captain Aldomovarnear Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan to plot a breachof the Camp Defense Plan of Camp General EmilioAguinaldo and to take over Camp Aquinaldo, as well asthe Headquarters of the Philippine Army. On 26February 2006, in the wake of the group’s allegedwithdrawal of support from the Armed Forces of thePhilippines chain of command and the currentadministration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,Major Aquino was ordered arrested and confined at theIntelligence Service Group of the Philippine Army in FortBonifacio, Taguig, upon the order of Lt. Gen.Hermogenes C. Esperon, (Lt. Gen. Esperon) who wasthen the Commanding General of the Philippine Army.
 
On the same day, Lt. Gen. Esperon ordered the ArmyInspector General to conduct an investigation todetermine: 1) the circumstances attending MajorAquino’s alleged withdrawal of support; 2) the veracityof reports anent the alleged troop movement of somePhilippine Military personnel from their respectivestations to Manila to join the protest march at EpifanioDelos Santos Avenue on 24 February 2006 withBrigadier General Danilo Lim (Brig. Gen. Lim); and 3) theparticipation, responsibility and culpability of allPhilippine Military personnel involved, if any. For thispurpose, a panel of investigators was formed. Duringthe investigation, Major Aquino denied the accusationshurled against him. He intimated,
inter alia
, that he hadno plan nor did he make any pronouncement of withdrawing support from the chain of command, andthat he pledged to continue to support the same andthe duly constituted authorities.On 4 March 2006, the panel of investigatorssubmitted its Investigation Report to the CommandingGeneral of the Philippine Army. In its report, the panelof investigators found that the troop movement bysome military personnel from their respective stationsto Manila was illegal, implicating Major Aquino therein,thus: 14.2 Based on the account of MAJ AQUINO, it may be reasonablyobserved that said Officer and BGEN LIMwere closely coordinating the progressof the latter’s talks with CSAFP [Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of thePhilippines] on the night of 23 February2006. Moreover, there are othercircumstances which seem to indicatethat the leadership of FSRR [First ScoutRanger Regiment] was preparing someof its personnel to move should the talkssucceed, i.e. movement of the 7SRC &9SRC personnel to Manila. Notedly, thefollowing attendant circumstances putto doubt the real intention of FSRR inordering the aforementioned troopmovement, to wit: i) There is no indication that CO,3SRB sought clearance orinformed CO, 901
st
Bde or CG,91 D of said troop movement;ii) There was no order or callfrom HPA or SOCOM for theimmediate fill up oraugmentation of the 10
th
SRC atFort Bonifacio;iii) There is no showing that thetroop movement wascoordinated, approved and/orcleared with the AOC, the AFPCCor SOLCOM, AFP;iv) When CO, 901
st
Bde calledCO, 3SRB to inquire about anytroop movement, the latteranswered in the negative andimmediately ordered his men togo back to command postv) When the twenty six (26)7SRC personnel wereapprehended, they were incivilian attire but brought withthem their bandoleer withmagazines and ammunitionswhich were placed inside theirbackpack. The panel of investigators recommended that:1) all implicated officers therein mentioned beimmediately relieved from their respective posts; and 2)appropriate charges be filed before the General CourtMartial against Major Aquino, among other militaryofficers/personnel, for violations of Article 67(Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny); and Article 97(Disorders and Neglects Prejudicial to Good Order andMilitary Discipline) of the Articles of War, to wit: 15.3.1 In addition to the relief of BGENDANILO D LIM 0-7665 AFPwhich in itself is already adisciplinary action, recommendthat subj Officer and MAJ JASONLAUREANO Y AQUINO O-10503(INF) PA be charged before thePAGCM for violation of 
AW 67
(CAUSING OR EXCITING AMUTINY) and
AW 97
(DISORDERS AND NEGLECTSPREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDERAND MILITARY DISCLIPLINE.) Further, the panel’s Investigation Report wasreferred by Lt. Gen. Esperon to the Judge AdvocateGeneral’s Office (JAGO) of the Philippine Army forreview. On 17 March 2006, the JAGO found the
 
existence of probable cause against Major Aquino,among other military officers, for violations of Article96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman),Article 97 (Disorders and Neglects Prejudicial to GoodOrder and Military Discipline), and Article 67(Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny) of the Articlesof War.The JAGO’s recommendation reads:6.3. For publishing, distributing anddiscussing the pamphlet entitled
“The New Order – The Solution tothe Filipino Political Problem
,
” 
which publication is not sanctionedas an official publication of theArmed Forces of the Philippines orthe Philippine Army, and whichmaterial tends to urge or inciteother military officers and enlistedmen to collectively or concertedlydefy standing and lawful orders of the Commanding General,Philippine Army as well as theChief of Staff, Armed Forces of thePhilippines, MAJ AQUINO shouldlikewise be charged of (sic)violating
AW 96
(CONDUCTUNBECOMING AN OFFICER ANDGENTLEMAN) and
AW 97
(Disorders and Neglects Prejudicialto Good Order and MilitaryDiscipline) under a separatespecification.6.4. In the (sic) light of the newaverments revealed in theSupplemental Affidavit of 1LtREYES, there is now basis forcharging MAJ AQUINO, MAJDOCTOLERO, CPT FONTIVEROS,CPT ALDOMOVAR, CPT CRISTE, CPTSABABAN for violation of 
AW 67
(ATTEMPT TO CREATE A MUTINY).Per said Supplemental Affidavit, itwas revealed that subj Officers metat the resthouse of CPTALDOMOVAR near the so-calledtower area in Camp Tecson, SanMiguel, Bulacan, on the evening of 03 Feb 2006, discuss and plot theirplan to breach the Camp DefensePlan of Camp General EmilioAguinaldo and hatch a plan to takeover Camp Aguinaldo and [the]Headquarters [of the] PhilippineArmy. x x x. On the basis of JAGO’s recommendations, Col.Jose R. Recuenco (Col. Recuenco), then Army ProvostMarshal, signed under oath a charge sheet againstMajor Aquino, charging the latter with violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny) andArticle 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer andGentleman) of the Articles of War, which was indorsedto the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of thePhilippines (AFP).On 12 July 2006, Lt. Gen. Esperon issued anOrder to the Commanding Officer, 191
st
, MP Bn toexercise custodial responsibility of Major Aquino,together with the other implicated military personnelwho withdrew their support from the chain of command in February 2006, and to place them inconfinement at the Philippine Army Detention Center,Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The same Order alsodesignated the aforementioned Commanding Officer toexercise direct supervision and control over theconcerned detainees. On 20 July 2006, the charge sheet againstMajor Aquino was amended to set forth more detailedspecifications of the charges. It, however, retained thecharges against Major Aquino as stated in the originalcharge sheet
i.e.
violation of Article 67 (Attempting toBegin or Create a Mutiny) and Article 96 (ConductUnbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articlesof War.On 20 July 2006, the Judge Advocate Generalof the AFP General Headquarters of the AFP issuedOffice Order Number 14-06, creating a Pre-trialInvestigation Panel for the case of Major Aquino,
et al.
 On 21 July 2006, petitioner filed a Petition for
Habeas Corpus
with the Court of Appeals, praying thatthe AFP Chief of Staff and the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, or whoever are acting in theirplace and stead, be directed to immediately producethe body of Major Aquino and explain forthwith why he

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