Monday, December 24, 2007 5:01:35 AM
Subject: Justice at 3:00 a.m by Fr. James Reuter
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. (Photo source: www.phillippestano.com/
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 12 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.
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.
PLEASE FWD TO EVERY FREEDOM LOVING PINOY IN YOUR LIST!
ENS. Philli p Andrew A. Pestaño did not commit SUICIDE
With a ship complement of 8 Officers and 42 Enlisted men, LC550 was considered to be the Flag Ship of the Philippine Navy. As the ship was about to dock at the HPN Pier at around 8:10 A.M., one of the ship’s key officers, ENS PHILLIP A PESTANO, PN, their Deck and Cargo Officer, was not at his designated station.
His fellow officer, Ens Joselito Colico ( Mess Officer) was tasked by the ship’s EX-O Lt Ruben Roque, to call on Ens Pestano. There was no answer. With the use of a master key, Ens Colico opened the door of the cabin. There, he found Ens Pestano, lying motionless, with his body perpendicular to the bed, both his feet on the ground, and both arms outstretched. 24 inches away from his body, located between his two feet was a .45 caliber gun. On the table was a torn lined paper, previously folded, and what appeared to be suicide note.
At 9:43 A.M., police investigators from the WPD, led by SPO Dennis Javier, arrived at the scene to conduct its investigation. They reported a case of suicide.
This website invites you to get to know Phillip and his tragic fate. It will walk you through the crime scene, how the different agencies of the Philippine government rendered their findings and reported the case as suicide; how local and international experts concluded that it was in fact, murder.
It will show you how, 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.
It directed the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a deeper investigation on Ens Pestano’s murder case.And finally, it will show you that the Office of the Ombudsman, thru the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ), despite conclusive findings that Ens Phillip Pestano’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.”
To date, one can find in the annals and official records of the Philippine Navy, that one Ens. Phillip Andrew A. Pestano, SN 0-11193, committed suicide on September 27,1995. We know it was not a suicide. You know it was not a suicide.
We invite you to look at the facts of the case. Revisit the crime scene. Recount the events.
Then, let us speak up, and break the culture of silence.
Kung 'di mareresolba ang usaping ito, ang matagal ng persepsyong may sabwatan sa pagitan ng tinatawag na mga "kaaway at terorista (ASG, JI) at AFP ay lalong kaklaro" at kung ang counter insurgency ng militar ay nakaatang, nakasalalay, naka-balangkas sa "pagkakaperahan, katiwalian at raketan," hindi mareresolba ang problema sa Mindanao.
Lumalabas na moro-moro lamang ang lahat, ginagamit lamang na instrumento ang ASG at JI, bilang gatasan at pinagkakitaan ng ilang matataas na opisyal sa loob ng military. Marami ang nananalig na maisisiwalat din ang grupo ng mga sindikatong ito at lilitaw ang mga tunay na mga bayani sa kasundaluhan.
- doy cinco