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Philippines will not conduct 'witch hunt' for coup plotters, defense secretary says

[JURIST] Philippine Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz [official profile] said Monday that the country's military would not go on a "witch hunt" as it investigates the involvement of army soldiers in last month's failed coup attempt [JURIST report] against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website; JURIST news archive]. Cruz did indicate, however, that it was necessary for the army to cleanse its forces of violators and that amnesty would not be granted to soldiers who were involved in the coup plot. Approximately 100 soldiers, many of whom are part of the country's elite Scout Ranger regiment [Wikipedia backgrounder], are currently under investigation for their suspected affiliation with communist rebels to overthrow Arroyo.

The head of the Philippine Army [official website] said last week that 15 army officers, including Brigadier-General Danilo Lim, US-trained commander of the Scout Rangers, will face courts-martial [JURIST report] for violations of the military's Articles of War in connection with the coup attempt. The Philippine Justice Department [official website] has also filed charges [JURIST report] against a congressman for his involvement in the plot, while five other lawmakers have not left the Philippine Congress [official website] building for three weeks to avoid being similarly arrested. Reuters has more.

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