Press Release
May 31, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today accused the top brass of the Armed Forces of the Philippines of trying to whitewash the illegal abduction and detention of five supporters of former President Joseph Estarada by staying away from the Senate hearing on the issue and using Executive Order 464 as an excuse.

Pimentel said the AFP officials should have viewed the Senate inquiry as an opportunity to explain or justify the actuations of the operatives of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP) who arrested and detained the Estrada followers in the light of military denial that they were tortured while undergoing interrogation.

The military officials are technically right. EO 464 is still under reconsideration. But they are wrong in the public mind because they are using technicality to prevent facts from being known. The message is they are covering up the abuses of people with guns, he said.

Pimentel said it was unwise for the AFP officials to invoke EO 464 for snubbing the Senate inquiry, especially since it has already been struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional although it is a subject of appeal by Malacañang .

He said the obvious cover up attempt has only put the AFP in a bad light as this has further cast doubts on the sincerity and determination of top military officials to fulfill the AFPs role as protector of the people.

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