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26 Charged in Aquino Slaying : Philippine's Military Chief Among Accused

January 23, 1985|Associated Press

MANILA — A Philippine government prosecutor charged the armed forces chief, Gen. Fabian C. Ver; two other generals, and 23 other men today in the double murder of opposition leader Benigno Aquino and the man the army had claimed was his assassin.

Brig. Gen. Luther Custodio, chief of aviation security, and 16 other soldiers were charged with direct participation in a military conspiracy to kill Aquino as he stepped off a plane Aug. 21, 1983, after three years of voluntary exile in the United States.

Ver, Maj. Gen. Prospero A. Olivas and six other soldiers were accused of being accessories in a military attempt to cover up the assassination and blame it on alleged communist agent Rolando Galman. A civilian businessman, Hermilo Gosuico, was accused of being an accomplice to the conspiracy.

Justice Bernardo Fernandez, government ombudsman, essentially followed the recommendations of the majority report of a panel appointed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The panel conducted a 10-month investigation of the case.

"The real work is about to begin," Fernandez told a news conference two hours after formal murder charges were filed before a special court organized by Marcos to try cases against government officials.

Ver's lawyer refused to file a motion for dismissal, saying the general wanted to prove his innocence in court.

Fernandez said today that he accepted the conclusion of the five-member fact-finding board that Aquino was killed on a service stairway by soldiers who were escorting him off his China Airlines plane from Taipei and that both he and Galman were killed in a military conspiracy.

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