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Ex-Basilan Army commander named new 1st Scout Ranger Regiment chief

April 21, 2008 3:11pm

Tags: Basilan
MANILA, Philippines - The former commander of the Army Brigade in Abu Sayyaf-infested province of Basilan was named as the new chief of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR), the Philippine Army said on Monday.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres said Col. Noel Coballes is taking over the command of the FSRR this week, replacing Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu who had been promoted to become the Army’s chief of staff - the No. 3 top post in the Army.

Coballes commanded the 105th Brigade that went after Abu Sayyaf terrorists and other armed elements in Basilan. Coballes and his unit, renamed the 1003rd Brigade, was moved a few months ago to Eastern Mindanao region.

“He grew up in the Scout Ranger," Torres said of Coballes, a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1980. With his appointment, Coballes’ promotion to the next higher rank of brigadier general is eminent.

Torres noted that Coballes has a clean record on military adventurism.

“He has no history, we can go as far as saying that he has no history, he has no past involvement in such exercises... Maybe that was factored in, among others because the board (of generals) is the one that decided on it," Torres said.

The board is chaired by Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr, he being the AFP chief. The members of the body includes the AFP vice chief and the AFP deputy chief and the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

The FSRR is a traditional source of participants to military adventurism.

In February 2006, then Scout Ranger chief Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and former Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda and their men allegedly planned to march to Edsa Shrine and subsequently withdraw their support from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Lim, Miranda and 26 other Scout Rangers and Marine officers are still in detention, facing trial by court martial for various military offenses, including mutiny, and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.

A number of Scout Ranger officers were also involved in the short-lived Oakwood mutiny in July 2003, which the mutineers said was meant to protest corruption in government. Among the prominent Scout Ranger officers linked to the mutiny was Capt. Milo Maestrecampo. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Basilan