13 January 2009

One Principled Marine

Major Marcelino with PDEA Lawyer Alvaro Lazaro
According to his superiors and a classmates from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the Marine officer who blew the whistle on the alleged bribery attempt in the 'Alabang Boys' case is a silent and committed worker, a principled man, and one of the few incorruptible officers in the military.

They are referring to Major Ferdinand Marcelino, one of 21 Marine officers of Class 1994 who had been assigned previously to Mindanao.

One of Marcelino's classmates said his being a silent worker helped in their efforts to free hostages seized by the Abu Sayyaf from the Dos Palmas resort.

"Marcelino's unit was the first to confirm the whereabouts of the Dos Palmas hostages and hostage-takers. They were able to recover the speedboat of [then Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abbu] Sabaya's group and pursued the fishing boat that was later recovered in Tuburan town, Basilan, from Mapun Island," the classmate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said to INQUIRER.NET.

He also said Marcelino "is very prudent in gathering information and ensures he gets the real data needed for the operation."

The classmate said that because of this, he could not entertain any doubts about the claims of Marcelino, who is detailed to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), about being offered a bribe to release three allegedly high-profile drug dealers.

It can be recalled that Major Marcelino confirmed that he was offered P3 million by a former classmate at the PMA in exchange for not filing a case against Richard Brodett, Joseph Tecson, and Jorge Joseph a.k.a. “Alabang Boys.” He also told the House committee on dangerous drugs that DOJ prosecutors who dismissed the case against the three might have been bribed.

Even former Marine commandant Brigadier General Renato Miranda has high regard for Major Marcelino.

"He is very idealistic and would fight for what he believes in. I don't think anybody could bribe him nor corrupt him," said General Miranda.

Miranda is one of several senior and junior Marine and Army officers facing court martial for an alleged coup attempt in 2006.

One of Miranda’s co-accused, Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin, described Marcelino as "an officer with dedication to duty beyond reproach."

Querubin said Marcelino is among the men "who brought back integrity and respect” to the PDEA.

For standing his ground and showing integrity in the face of what must have been tempting bribe offers, Major Marcelino was described as brave, credible and dead. Hopefully, the last description is not trues because this country needs more people like Major Marcelino, especially in Congress.