Press Release
May 10, 2006


HELP continues to pour in for beleaguered military officials Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan even as Senator Alfredo S. Lim urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines Judge Advocate Generals Office to terminate the court martial proceedings against the two.

Yesterday, a check for US$1,000 was donated to Gudani by Patricio R. Mamot, editor-in-chief of The Filipino Times based in New York City through the office of Lim. Earlier, he also sent a check worth US$500 at the height of Lims Piso Para sa Katotohanan campaign which the senator launched to raise funds for both Gudani and Balutan.

In a letter to Lim, Mamot expressed his admiration for Gudani, along with other military generals and young officers who took certain risks just to come out with the truth.

Their action places in their military career and future as professional soldiers in jeopardy, which affects not only their promising military career but their families, Mamot said.

Mamot particularly lauded the said generals for the actions which they took while still in the service.

He added: I wish I can be in our country to express my admiration for their strong belief and sense of service to country with honor as well as abiding patriotism.

Lim meanwhile, stressed there is no more reason for the said proceedings to continue in the light of a recent Supreme Court decision

which rendered illegal a provision of Executive Order 464 requiring all government officials to first secure a clearance from Malacanang before they

could appear in any legislative inquiry. The said provision became the basis for charging both officials with violation of Articles of War 65 and 97, or willfull disobedience of superior officer and conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

The senator said that in the first place, Gudani and Balutan were already in the middle of testifying when the letter directing them not to appear was handed to them.

He also cited Article VI, Sec.22 of the Constitution, stating that government officials, upon the request of either House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments.

Under the circumstances then, Lim said the two officials had no other option but to attend the Senate inquiry based on the request made to them.

Gudani, whose name was mentioned in the controversial Hello Garci tapes, told the inquiry that during the 2004 elections, he was removed as commander of the Task Force Ranao based in Marawi City, after refusing to participate in the special operations aimed at rigging the said polls.

Balutan, who was then under Gudani, also testified and corroborated the statements given by his superior. Gudani then retired without getting the benefits due him.

Lim, known for his strict adherence to upholding the law, stressed that no less than the highest court of the land has already spoken on the matter, so that its interpretation of issues at hand should be given topmost consideration by all other judicial processes, including the military tribunal

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