THE military mutiny leader, who surrendered Tuesday, hoped that the new government would serve justice on him and his fellow officers who took part in Oakwood mutiny and Manila Peninsula Hotel siege.

In a press conference Thursday, Nicanor Faeldon said he is optimistic that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III would not be meddling on their cases, citing the previous administration have railroaded it.

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Malacanang, for its part, welcomed the decision of Faeldon to return to the fold of the law, saying that it is an indication of his confidence in the new administration.

"We welcome his decision to voluntarily submit himself to the jurisdiction of a duly-elected administration," said Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

"It is an indication of his confidence that the Aquino administration will afford him his constitutional right to due process and a fair trial," he added.

The Palace official assured that President Aquino will be firm on his stand in upholding the law at all times and in all cases.

"The rule of law will be applied equally to all. And we are glad that people who are afraid to submit themselves to the law are now coming back and we welcome that," Lacierda said.

Lacierda meanwhile said it is premature to assume that there will be more mutineers to surrender under the administration of President Aquino.

He also refused to entertain possible pardon and amnesty to the participant in the mutiny.

Surrender

Faeldon surrendered to Marine commandant Juancho Sabban last Tuesday afternoon after almost three years in hiding. His lawyer, Trixie Angeles, said her client surrendered to face charges against him.

Sabban and Navy chief Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez presented Faeldon to members of the media at the Villa Cristina Resort in Antipolo City Thursday where the Navy and Marines were having a symposium.

Faeldon, clad in white t-shirt and denim pants, was not in handcuffs.

"I'm one of those who are hopeful that justice will be attained not only by me but the others who are facing charges," he said.

He is among the leaders of the Oakwood mutiny, protesting against the alleged military corruption during the Arroyo government.

The mutineers, which also include Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, were subsequently charged with coup de tat before the Makati City regional court, and violations of the Article of War in the military's court martial.

Following arrest in Oakwood incident in July 2004, Faeldon escaped from military custody on December 14, 2005 after attending a court hearing. He was recaptured by intelligence agents on January 28, 2006 in the company of military prosecutor Captain Candelaria Rivas.

On November 2007, he and fellow Oakwood mutineers walked out in a hearing in Makati City, along with former Scout Ranger chief Danilo Lim, who was testifying for them, and occupied the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

While holed up at the hotel, the group withdrew support from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom they accused of corruption and of cheating the results of the 2004 presidential elections.

When asked if he is discouraging officers from doing the same acts they did in 2003 and 2007, Faeldon said: "I would leave that to their individual judgment."

He stressed the statement of his lawyer earlier that he would surrender during the administration of a duly-elected leader.

Arroyo

He also chided the former President Arroyo who was hounded by charges that she cheated her victory in the 2004 elections, saying: "I am one of those who believe that she doesn't possess the mandate of the people."

He noted that he did not regret what he has done in 2003 and in 2007. "I believe that what I have done is what I'm supposed to have done," he said.

On whether he will again escape if issues surfaces against the new administration, Faeldon said: "Let's talk about that when such instances come."

He clarified that there were no negotiations with any politician prior to his surrender. He said he and the military initiated talks about his surrender when the May election was over and when the results of the polls were clear.

He said he would surrender to any administration of any president as long as he has the mandate of the people.

Meanwhile, Sabban said there will be no special treatment for Faeldon, adding he would be detained at the Marine headquarters while the courts are hearing the charges against him. (VR/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)