Thursday, June 3, 2010


By: Elena Aben

Manila Bulletin, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marines detailed as security personnel during the May 10
elections in hotspot areas in Mindanao, particularly Sulu
province, proved the soldiers' honor and integrity when they
turned down bribe offers from politicians, an act which the
Armed Forces deemed worthy of recognition. Marine commandant
Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban ordered the issuance of appropriate
awards to all Marine personnel who performed election security
duties in the region after a receiving a report from the Joint
Task Force Comet (JTF) in Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom)
of the Marines who stood by commitment to protect the
credibility of the elections when they refused to heed to bribery
attempts that would have allowed cheating in the recent polls.
Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT5) commanding officer
Lt. Col. Camilo Balutan reported there were numerous instances
that campaign personalities attempted to bribe the Marines who
were performing election-related duties particularly at the
Kaumpang Elementary School in Sulu. The unscupulous campaign
leaders of certain politicians reportedly offered huge amount of
money to the Marines in exchange of leaving the precincts.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tangkang panunuhol sa Marines ibinunyag

By: JB Salarzon

Abante, Miyerkules, hunyo 2, 2010

Dalawampu’t tatlong araw matapos ang May 10
election, ibinunyag kahapon ng isang opisyal
ng Philippine Marines ang tang­kang panunuhol
ng ilang campaign leader ng ilang kandidato
sa ilang sundalong nagsilbing security sa ilang
presinto sa Sulu.

Ayon kay Lt. Col. Ca­milo Balutan, commander ng
Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT5),
malalaking halaga ang ini­umang ng mga campaign
leader sa ilang sundalo na namuno sa pagbibigay
ng seguridad, lisanin lamang ang presinto at
mai-tamper ng mga ito ang ballot boxes.

Gaya na lamang ang karanasan ni Private First
Class Rhomel Divina na siyang namuno sa
seguridad sa Maligay polling precinct kung
saan sinubukang suhulan siya ng halagang P100,000.

Pero ang isinagot umano nito sa sumusuhol:
“Hin­di nababayaran ng pera mo ang serbisyo ko.”
Ganito rin ang naging karanasan ng halos lahat
ng mga sundalong naita­la­ga sa mga presinto ng
Ka­umpang Elementary School.

Ayon naman kay Staff Sergeant William Magpili,
nilapitan din siya sa Baunon Bangkal precinct
at tinangkang suhulan ng napakalaking halaga
para hayaan ang nanunuhol na i-tamper ang
natitirang 168 balota.

Hindi naman nilinaw ni Balutan kung iniulat
nito ang mga naganap na panunuhol sa kanyang
mga sundalo sa Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
at kung kaninong mga tauhan ng mga kandidato
ang mga nanuhol.

Kahapon, binigyan ng parangal ni Marine Commandant
Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban ang mga sundalong naging
matapat sa kanilang tungkulin sa pagbibigay ng
seguridad sa naganap na eleksiyon sa nasabing lalawigan.

Marines on poll duty in Sulu offered bribes

By: Alexis Romero

The Philippine Star, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - The Marine Corps revealed yesterday
that some groups tried to bribe its troops who were
assigned to secure the recent elections in Sulu.

In a statement, Marines spokesman Capt. Alden Gwyn
Amargo said bribery attempts were reported in the
areas of Kaumpang, Maligay and Baunoh Bangkal.

Amargo said Marine Commandant Maj. Gen. Juancho
Sabban ordered that Marines who performed poll
security duties in Sulu be honored after learning
that they refused the bribe offers.

Amargo said awards will also be given to other
Marines deployed in other precincts “who steadfastly
performed exemplary election security duties and
vehemently refused any attempt of bribery to prevent
the ill intents of some political personalities.”

Sabban said they were conducting interviews to
verify other reports of bribery attempts.

“We want to determine how widespread these instances
are. I am sure there are many instances
(of bribery attempts)… The presence of the Marines
deterred election anomalies such as these,” he said.

Amargo said the Marine Battalion Landing Team 5
reported that there were numerous instances when
campaign leaders tried to bribe its men deployed
at the Kaumpang Elementary School.

Pfc. Rhomel Divina, who was assigned to secure
a polling precinct in Maligay, said a campaign
leader offered him P100,000 for him to leave the
area so the latter and his cohorts could fill
out the remaining ballots for their candidate.

“Your money cannot pay for my services,” Divina
told the campaign leader in Filipino.

Amargo said a campaign leader also attempted to
bribe S/Sgt. William Magpili, who was securing
a polling precinct in Baunoh Bangkal.

Asked if Marines observed cheating in Sulu and
Basilan, Sabban said it would be up to the
Commission on Elections to conduct an investigation.

He, however, maintained that the recent elections
were generally peaceful and orderly.

Before the May 10 elections, Defense Secretary
Norberto Gonzales said there were groups which
would try to rig the poll results by bribing
soldiers and policemen.

He, however, did not identify the politicians
behind these groups.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Delfin Bangit said the
peaceful conduct of the elections restored the
credibility of the military, which had been
tainted by allegations of involvement in poll
fraud and partisanship in the past.

Marines who spurned Sulu pols’ bribe offer to be cited

By: Victor Reyes

Malaya, Wednesday, 02 June 2010

MARINES commandant Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban yesterday
said there were attempts by local candidates in Sulu
to bribe at least three soldiers stationed in the
poll precincts during the May 10 elections but all
of them failed.

Sabban will fly to Sulu today to give medals to
the three soldiers for displaying professionalism
and dedication to their job.

Marines spokesman Capt. Alden Gwyn Amargo said
the soldiers are being honored "for gallantly
protecting the integrity of the election by
fervently refusing acts of bribery.

Amargo quoted Marine Battalion Landing Team 5
chief Lt. Col. Camilo Balutan as saying that
there were "numerous instances" where the
attempted bribery took place at the polling
precincts in Patikul town, Sulu.

"They offered huge amounts to the Marines in
exchange of leaving the precincts so that
the unused ballots might be filled up in
favor of their candidates. Apparently,
all security personnel who were detailed
in Kaumpang Elementary School were being
insinuated for monetary concessions," said Amargo.

Amargo said Pfc. Rhomel Divina was offered
P100,000 by a campaign leader for him to
leave the Maligay polling precinct as
there were lesser number of voters coming
in on the afternoon of May 10 "so he and
his cohorts could fill up the more than
three hundred remaining ballots for his candidate."

"Hindi mababayaran ng pera mo ang serbisyo ko,"
Amargo quoted Divina as telling the campaign
leader. "Put to shame, the campaign leader
left him alone, Divina continued securing
the area and courageously prevented impending
acts of cheating the elections," said Amargo.

At the Baunoh Bangkal precinct, Amargo said
another campaign leader approached S/Sgt.
William Magpili for the tampering of at
least 168 ballots. "Magpili turned down the
offer and made sure that the ballots were
secured," he said.

Amargo said similar awards will also be
given to other Marines deployed in other
precincts who refused any attempt
of bribery.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Navy ready for rainy season

By: Elena L Aben

Manila Bulletin, Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Philippine Navy said on Saturday that
it is ready to deploy its personnel and
equipment in flood-prone areas nationwide
as the rainy season approaches.

The Navy’s disaster preparedness was put
to test last May 26 when flashfloods hit
10 villages in Sultan Kudarat, affecting
35,000 people and causing damage to
24 hectares of farmland and a wide span
of the farm-to-market road in the town.

Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman,
said that the Navy has pre-organized,
pre-planned, and pre-equipped rescue
teams integrated in all naval units to
reach out to needy citizens when calamities
and disasters occur.

“Gaining from its experience during the
onslaught of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”
last year, the Navy has strengthened its
disaster response operations in four
areas- equipage, command and control, training,
and coordination,” said Arevalo.

At the 12th anniversary celebration earlier
this month, the Navy presented to
President Arroyo its newly procured
Disaster Response Operations (DRO) equipment,
which shows the Navy’s readiness and
preparedness when called for action.

The DRO equipment consist of the trailer,
rubber boat that has a 10-man capacity with
40 HP OBM, and other life-saving gear.
Also included is an improvised rubber boat
made of indigenous materials from plastic
drums and metal.

The boat, which the Navy described as
unsinkable, can load more than four times
compared to an ordinary rubber boat and
costs P60,000 unlike an ordinary rubber boat
that costs P600,000.

At 112 years, Philippine Navy is one of oldest

By Elena L Aben

Manila Bulletin, Sunday, 23 May 2010

At 112, the Philippine Navy (PN) is one of the
oldest in Asia, and at one point during the ‘60s,
it was the envy of the region.

Other developing nations in Southeast Asia that
were then beginning to form their own navies even
took guidance from the Philippines where maritime
defense in concerned.

However, five decades later, the Philippine Navy
is now considered the weakest in Asia — owing to a
series of internal conflicts and political crises
that resulted in a turn back in the country’s naval
defense development. Add to this the fact that the
government had been spending less — compared to its
Asian neighbors — for its military forces.

With the Philippines being an archipelagic nation
with a maritime domain that spans some 37,652
kilometers or 10.6 percent of the total 356,000
kilometers of the world’s coastline, the need for a
strong navy has always been emphasized.

In an interview, Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy
spokesman, said the Navy undoubtedly faces an
especially challenging gargantuan task with most
of its ships, as no less than former Navy
Flag Officer-in-Command, Vice Adm. Ferdinand Golez
admits, are even older than him and most of the
naval fleet’s officers.

“That has long been an open secret. To the pundits,
external aggression is remote at this time,”
said Arevalo, adding, “If the Philippines wants to
regain the respect of its neighbors and restore
pride in the hearts of its people, a strong navy
is imperative.”

Navy officials openly admit that the PN, at present,
has obsolete equipment, some of which are already
50 to 60-years-old.

One of its ships, in fact, has seen action during
World War II and the Vietnam War. Another ship
being used by the naval fleet was commissioned in
1943 in the United States, where its sister ship
is now displayed in a museum.

Yet, despite its weakness in terms of naval
capability due to obsolete, inefficient and
ageing equipment, some of which have already
reached or are reaching the end of their lifespan,
the Philippine Navy still manages to serve the
nation well and even deliver tremendous

Among the remarkable achievements posted by
Fleet-Marine units in Basilan and Sulu was
the neutralization of several leaders of
the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG),
including Khadaffi Janjalani, Abu Sabaya,
and recently Albader Parad.

To this, no less than outgoing President
Arroyo remarked that the Navy’s accomplishments
makes her proud to have become its

Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez, acting
Flag Officer-in-Command,
vowed to continue the Navy’s initiatives,
particularly those set by his predecessor,
Vice Adm. Ferdinand Golez who retired from
active military service last May 15.