By Anthony Vargas, Reporter
Detained mutinous officers are treated more leniently than their
comrades who remain defiant to the government, the Army’s
spokesman said Tuesday.
“There are slight differences
[in treatment],” Maj. Ernesto Torres Jr. told reporters during a
chance interview in Camp Aguinaldo.
The officers, who are detained in
the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio in Makati City, belong to
the Magdaló group who spearheaded the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003.
They are facing charges of rebellion before a civilian court and a
The officers who have expressed
support for President Arroyo reportedly enjoy extra comforts and
The group of Capt. Gerar-do
Gambala who had apologized to the President in 2004 is reportedly
housed in comfortable detention centers, which even have sleeping
quarters for visitors.
Gambala’s group was also given
livelihood projects like poultry raising and soap-making so they
could augment their salaries.
Torres admitted that the guards
of the defiant officers “are stricter” but that’s because the
officers had a record of escape attempts.
He made it clear that while the
defiant officers were being separately detained, their cells are not
what is described as a bartolina, or isolation chamber.
“They [defiant officers] are
given enough food…[and] their living conditions are good,”
Reportedly kept in isolation are
the officers led by Captain Dante Langkit, 1st Lt. Sonny Sarmiento
and Aldrin Baldonado. On the other hand, the salaries of former
fugitive Magdaló members Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon, Army Lts.
Patricio Bumidang Jr., Lawrence San Juan, Nathaniel Rabonza and
Sarmiento have been suspended.
Sarmiento and Baldonado, who were
arrested in their safe house in Quezon City in July 2006, are also
facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Last week the wives of Sarmiento
and Baldonado said their husbands were being kept in isolation to
break their will and force them to cooperate.
Sources close to the two officers
said they were being pressured to implicate opposition figures who
harbored them while they were on the run.