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thedrifter
02-01-06, 12:43 PM
Thursday, February 02, 2006
EXCLUSIVE
Biazon: No signs Faeldon tortured
By Anthony Vargas, Reporter

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon on Wednesday saw no signs that Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon had been being maltreated while in detention at Camp Aguinaldo.

Biazon was allowed to see Faeldon, who was recaptured last week after escaping in December, in his cell in the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters. The senator brought along a physician from the Senate.

Faeldon is one of the leaders of the 2003 Oakwood mutiny. Four other officers who joined the mutiny bolted from the detention compound in Fort Bonifacio three weeks ago.

On Tuesday, Faeldon’s lawyer, Ruel Pulido, said he believed the detainee was subjected to mental and physical torture.

The Commission on Human Rights sent two investigators to check on Faeldon, but they were not allowed to see him.

Biazon, a retired Marine general and former Armed Forces chief of staff, said Faeldon denied he had been maltreated.

Faeldon “seems to be OK. I asked him if he was tortured and he said no. I asked him if he was mentally tortured and he said no,” Biazon told reporters who interviewed him after his visit.

Dr. Mariano Blancia, the Senate physician who examined Faeldon, found “no evidence of physical torture.”

Biazon said Faeldon was staying in his old cell together with fellow mutineers Navy Lieuts. Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes IV and James Layug and Marine Capt. Gary Alejano.

Pulido asserted that Faeldon was being kept in solitary confinement in a small cell with little ventilation and light.

On Wednesday the Isafp also allowed Faeldon’s estranged wife, Tata Untalan, and her lawyer, Gideon Mortel, to bring food to him.

“I can see that Captain Faeldon’s spirit has not been broken,” Mortel told reporters.

He also saw no signs that Faeldon had been maltreated.

On Wednesday Col. Tristan Kison, the Armed Forces spokesman, said two Marines believed to have helped Faeldon enter the Western Command headquarters in Palawan have been taken into custody.

Soldiers picked up Privates Harry Glaraga and Lorenzo Caranzo in Palawan and brought them to Manila for investigation.

“They are being interrogated for their alleged links with Capt. Nicanor Faeldon. We are tracking others who are supporting the coup leaders,” Kison said.

Faeldon sneaked into the Westcom camp and shot video footage and photographs of himself a week after escaping on December 14.

He was arrested with another supporter, Capt. Candelaria Rivas, in Malabon City.

Still at large are Capt. Nathaniel Rabonza and Lieuts. Sony Sarmiento, Laurence San Juan and Patricio Bumindang Jr..

The military has launched an investigation to unmask Faeldon’s supporters and his contacts in the Armed Forces.

Faeldon was also spotted in the Southern Command headquarters in Zamboanga City, the Central Command in Cebu province, and in Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo.

On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, commander of the Northern Luzon Command, issued a shoot-to-kill order on the four other escaped coup leaders. “If they resist arrest, shoot them,” he said.

The Southcom, the largest military installation outside Manila, on Wednesday ordered troops to arrest the four coup leaders if they turn up in military camps or anywhere in Mindanao.

“If they are armed and resort to violence to resist arrest, then soldiers have no other recourse than to shoot them in self-defense. Soldiers will respond accordingly to the levels of threats against them,” Maj. Gamal Hayudini, chief information officer of the Southern Command, said in a separate interview.

The families of the four escaped officers condemned the shoot-to-kill order.

“A shoot-to-kill order is illegal, irresponsible and reckless. It is uncalled for and clearly violates the Constitution. The AFP cannot take the law into its own hands,” the families said in a joint statement. Kison said shooting the fugitive officers is a last option, and will be done not to kill but to temporarily disable them if they fight back.

The Army chief, Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, on Wednesday defended the Armed Forces in the hunt for the escaped coup leaders and their supporters.

“When they joined the Oakwood mutiny, they knew the consequences of their actions. They tried but failed to overthrow the government, so they have to pay the consequences of their actions,” Esperon said.

--With Al Jacinto

Ellie