MANILA - The second-in-command of the Philippine navy’s flagship and nine other men are to be tried for the murder 16 years ago of a fellow naval officer aboard another vessel, the armed forces said Thursday. Commodore Reynaldo Lopez has been sacked as executive officer and ordered off the navy flagship Gregorio del Pilar ahead of his trial for the shooting death of the officer, navy spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Omar Tonsay said. “He and the others will be dismissed from the service and detained at a holding facility,” Tonsay told AFP, citing orders from the Ombudsman.

, a special prosecutor handling criminal cases involving government employees.

Lopez and nine other officers were indicted on Wednesday for the murder of a 24-year-old junior officer, Ensign Philip Pestano, who was found shot dead aboard the Bacolod City on September 27, 1995.

Four of the defendants had since retired from the navy, but Tonsay said all 10 would stand trial for murder in a special court. No trial dates have been set by the court.

A navy investigation had earlier ruled the fatal shooting a suicide, but the Ombudsman said the evidence showed otherwise.

The dead officer’s relatives had always alleged that he was murdered by his fellow officers.

Military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos told reporters the armed forces would comply with the orders of the special prosecutor.

“Immediate administrative actions will be implemented by the armed forces as the implementer of the courts and higher civilian authorities. We will cooperate with the investigating bodies and judicial bodies,” Burgos added.