"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Ensign Phillip Andrew A. Pestaño & the Governments' Anti-Illegal Drugs Stance

Czarina of Anti-Drugs Garcified President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is at the forefront in the campaign against illegal drugs but is she really serious or is this another one of her empty posturing to lull the gullible public into false hopes?

Most likely the later in a justice system that is perceived to be corrupt where verdicts and decisions tilts towards the highest bidder. This is a president who catapulted into power exploiting evil errr civil society and the church's disdain for illegal numbers game of Jueteng. The outcome as soon as she sets foot in the palace by the murky Pasig River, Pampanga her hometown and turf earned the much coveted title of Jueteng capital of the Philippines. Judging from her past performance and seeing her Napoleonic complex every step of the way in her Garcified presidency what are the chances that her propensity for grander things may find the Philippines to be the center of Illegal drugs in the South East Asia region?

Ok, I must admit that we are speculating and it is unfair to pre-judge La Napoleona de Gloria this early. In order to be credible should this eager beaver Czarina and her equally sound byte attention grabber running dogs errr underlings dispense justice to the victims of drug lords such as what happened to Ensign Phillip Andrew A. Pestaño, murdered on September 27, 1995, as described in a prayer email brigade of Fr. James Reuters:
Phillip Andrew A. Pestaño graduated from the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1989, entered the Philippine Military Academy, and became an Ensign in the Philippine Navy in 1993. He was assigned as cargo master, on a Navy ship.

He discovered that the cargo being loaded onto his vessel included logs that were cut down illegally, were carried to the ship illegally, and were destined to be sold, illegally. Then there were 50 sacks of flour, which were not flour, but shabu - worth billions. Literally, billions. And there were military weapons which were destined for sale to the Abu Sayyaf.

He felt that he could not approve this cargo.

Superior officers came to him and said: "Please! Be reasonable! This is big business. It involves many important people. Approve this cargo." But Phillip could not, in conscience, sign approval.

Then his parents received two phone calls, saying: "Get your son off that ship! He is going to be killed!" When Phillip was given leave at home, his family begged him not to go back. Their efforts at persuasion continued until his last night at home, when Phillip was already in bed.

His father came to him and said: "Please, son, resign your commission. Give up your military career. Don't go back. We want you alive. If you go back to that ship, it will be the end of you!" But Phillip said to his father: "Kawawa ang bayan!" And he went back to the ship.

The scheduled trip was very brief - from Cavite to Roxas Boulevard - it usually took only 45 minutes. But on September 27, 1995 , it took one hour and a half. When the ship arrived at Roxas Boulevard, Ensign Pestaño was dead.

The body was in his stateroom, with a pistol, and a letter saying that he was committing suicide. The family realized at once that the letter was forged. They tried desperately for justice, carrying the case right up to the Senate.

The Senatorial Investigation Committee examined all the evidence, carefully. Then they issued an official statement, saying among other things: Ensign Phillip Pestaño did not commit suicide. He was murdered. He was shot through the head, somewhere outside of his stateroom, and the body was carried to his room and placed in the bed. The crime was committed by more than one person. In spite of these findings, by the Senate, the family could not get justice. The case is still recorded, by the Navy, as suicide.
For 14 years they have been knocking at the doors of those in power, to no avail. Now they realize that they should knock on the door of Him who said: "Knock, and it shall be opened to you. Ask and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find." So they are asking all of the friends of Phillip from the Ateneo, from the PMA, friends of the family - including the girl he was engaged to marry - to say this prayer: Lord, we know that Phillip is safe with you, and will be safe forever, because he gave up his life, as You gave up Your life - for justice. If it is Your will, please let the truth be known of his heroic courage and strength and love of country. Let justice be rendered here on earth. But if it is not Your will that justice be rendered here, give each of us the grace to live and die as he did - following in Your footsteps.

And at the last judgment, Lord, when all that is hidden will be known, let Phillip be seen as he really is - a brave young man who gave his life for honesty, truth, and justice."
Sad and revolting to see how knuckleheads try to gain sound bytes like conquering heroes in full regalia when they are more of a fox guarding the chicken house. The email prayer ended with the following:
Phillip Pestaño died at the age of 24. He was scheduled to be married in January of 1996, four months after he was murdered. He was a martyr. A martyr is one who dies for the faith or for a Christian virtue. Phillip died for a Christian virtue - justice. It is not likely that he will ever be canonized, but he takes his place among the Unknown Saints.

Some military men are killed in battle. They are given a hero's burial. But Phillip died for a much deeper cause - he was trying to preserve the integrity of our Armed Forces. He died out of loyalty to the Philippines, in an effort to keep the oath that he made when he graduated from the Military Academy.

Graft and corruption are the curse of this nation. But when they take root in the heart of our Armed Forces, they threaten our existence as an independent, democratic country.

The family of Phillip Pestaño is doing the right thing. They are turning to God. They are praying that justice will be administered here, in our country, in our day. But if this is not God's will, then let us at least try to preserve the ideal of integrity in every mind and heart and soul.

Let's forward this message to every freedom-loving Pinoy in our list.

Thank you.
For 14 long years justice has been denied to Ensign Phillip Andrew A. Pestaño in trying to prevent the despicable of the lowest degree criminal activities of greedy people in high places. The events that unfolded after Pestaño’s staged suicide is like a script from a Mafiosi film but this dastardly act happens in a land where corruption has been so ingrained in the very depths of murderous criminal soul leaving behind trails of unexplained deaths.

Rodel Rodis citing then Senator Alfredo Lim’s privilege speech named Lt. Carlito Amoroso (PMA class 1994), a close-in security for Admiral Carranza who was not a crew member of the ship, as the possible gunman. So much for camaraderie when it comes to illegal activities if this proven and is this why Major Frederick Marcelino (Alabang Boys Fame) does not want to taint the “refutation” of his “mistah” (brother-in-arms) out of fear of the consequence? It does not make sense that one who portrays himself to have integrity does not have the honesty or was it cajones to name a criminal who offered him a bribe after all that is still a crime even though the bribe did not take place.

Sen. Lim also linked Ensign Joselito Colico to the crime as he admitted before the Senate that he removed the magazine from the .45 caliber pistol and wiped off fingerprints. Calico was never charged, even with tampering with evidence.

In 1997, the Philippine Senate deliberated, and thru the pro bono legal representation of then Ex Senator, Senator Aquilino Pimentel (re-elected anew in 2002 ), concluded that it was indeed murder.

The inept Department of Justice (DOJ) was asked to conduct a deeper investigation on Ens Pestaño’s murder case. Another equally inept government agency the Office of the Ombudsman, thru the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ), despite conclusive findings that Ens Phillip Pestaño’s death was a murder case, resolved it closed and terminated in 2000, asserting that “the conduct of further investigation in order to find out the identity of the perpetrator and his accomplices, if any, will only be a waste of time considering that the physical evidence has already been tampered with not to mention the lapse of time.”

With this kind of justice system how do we expect murder case involving illegal drugs, gunrunning with a terrorist Abu Sayaff as the buyer gets resolved. The circumstance prior to the death of Phillip Pestaño and the trail of death afterwards truly makes movie plots pale in comparison.

There was also Ensign Alvin Parone, who was apparently the officer who called Pestaño’s parents to warn them of plans to kill their son. He was also killed, Sen. Lim said, “a victim of another unsolved murder.”

Also missing and presumed dead is Petty Officer (PO3) Fidel Tagaytay, who was the duty officer on board Pestaño’s ship. When he was summoned to testify before the Senate, he disappeared. His wife Leonila has been desperately searching for him, begging the authorities to investigate his disappearance. He is “absent without leave” is all the Navy brass would tell her.

Off heels and bridges an article written by Juan Mercado on the people on board BRP Bacolod on the day of the incident:

Justice and national interest required reinvestigation, insisted Pestaño’s Ateneo and PMA classmates. And the parents filed charges on October 27, 2005 against seven aboard BRP Bacolod City. Of the seven, four have vanished.

Police Officer 1 Carlito Amoroso “retired.” Letters to this PMA graduate are returned with the post office notation: “Address Unknown.” He was not an “organic member” of the ship’s crew, e.g. a hitchhiker. Yet, “strong evidence linked him to the crime as possible gunman, Lim said.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Joselito Colico unloaded the gun and wiped it. He should answer charges of tampering with evidence. But “inquiries with the Navy revealed that Lieutenant Colico has been missing for more than a year.” The ship’s executive officer, Lieutenant Ruben Roque, skipped to the US.

“Many respondents have been promoted and traveled abroad as if nothing happened at all,” Pestaño’s parents observe. “Their common answer is: the Senate cannot do anything to them, much less their careers.” Nonetheless, they press on to vindicate the name of a son.
If Ens Pestaño’s death and the death of those after his cannot be resolved by our "competent" investigative and court systems, how will they fare in this "renewed" posturing against illegal drugs. I say in the interest of justice if indeed we have justice, instead of dangling a notorious General Jovito Palparan known as the butcher on board the fight against illegal drugs, a re-investigation to resolve the case of Ens Pestaño is long overdue to show their sincere effort to combat the menace of drug abuse.
UPDATE:  1/11/12

Leila Salaverria of Inquirer News reports on Ombudsman files murder raps vs 10 Navy officials for Pestaño murder

Charged with the nonbailable crime of murder were Capt. Ricardo Ordoñez; Cmdr. Reynaldo Lopez, Hospital Man 2 Welmenio Aquino, Lt. Cmdr. Luidegar Casis, Lt. Cmdr. Alfrederick Alba, Machinery Repairman 2 Sandy Miranda, Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Colico, Lt. Cmdr. Ruben Roque, PO1 Carlito Amoroso and PO2 Leonor Igcasan.

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