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Retired Marine colonel convicted for disrespect towards the President

June 26, 2013 3:10pm
(Updated 5:45 p.m.) A military tribunal convicted last month a Marine colonel who had called for a change in government some two years ago and sentenced him to one year imprisonment and discharged him from the service, the Navy spokesperson said Wednesday.

Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Gerald Fabic said Col. Generoso Mariano was convicted last May but the court handed down the verdict only last week.

Fabic said Mariano was found guilty of violating Article of War (AW) 63 or Disrespect Towards the President.

However, the verdict is being reviewed by the Navy’s staff judge advocate, Fabic said, adding that the court had cleared Mariano of two other cases – violation of AW 91 or provoking speeches and AW 96 or conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

“The sentence [for violating AW 63] is dismissal from the service and one year imprisonment which is deemed served,” said Fabic of Mariano, a former deputy commander of the Naval Reserve Command.

Mariano, had been detained for over a year in his quarters in Fort Bonifacio for his controversial YouTube video calling for a change in government.

In the video, Mariano said soldiers are feeling the difficult life as food and medicine prices continue to rise, and that government is doing nothing to address the problem.

Also, he said that if the government has no intention of addressing the problem, it is the duty of the people, including the soldiers, “to replace the government.”

Meanwhile, Fabic said Mariano's case “is still with the staff judge advocate for review.”

After the review, the case will be forwarded to Navy chief Vice Adm. Jose Luis Alano – the court’s convening authority – for approval.

The review may take one to two months, Fabic said.

If the verdict is upheld, Fabic said, it will again be forwarded to President Aquino, through the chain of command. The President, who the AFP's commander-in-chief, is the sole authority in commissioning officers and terminating of their commissionship.

“Rest assured that the Philippine Navy will go through the case in accordance with the procedure and will observe the rule of law,” Fabic said.

Mariano – who reached the retirement age of 56 on July 17, 2011 or two weeks after posting the video – may not be entitled to retirement benefits as a "standard operating procedure," Fabic said.

The military retained its jurisdiction to investigate and try Mariano, under military justice system, because he committed the infraction while he was on the active service.

He noted though that the court martial's ruling did not mention removal of retirement benefits.

On the other hand, Mariano's lawyer Harry Cedro had claimed his client’s message was "spliced" and taken out of context.

Malacañang had hinted that Mariano may have been associated with former president and now Pampanga representative Gloria Arroyo. Mariano has denied the allegations. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/LBG/KBK, GMA News




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