MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Thursday reiterated that it will respect its retired members’ right to a self-expression, as long as it will not lead to an armed movement against the government.
“Kasi kung miyembro ka ng AFP, liberties mo tinatanggal – like freedom of expression – iyan ay babalik kapag retired ka na,” explained Armed Forces public information chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala.
“Bilang mga retirado ka na, pwede na silang magsalita on any issues lalo na against [the] government, as long as hindi sila gumagawa ng any armed move or destablization move na involved ang armed components or the AFP. Other than that, wala po tayong nakikitang problema sa expression,” he added.
Zagala likewise assured that newly installed military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has been going around different camps explaining to soldiers the issues the government is facing – particularly the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the Supreme Court recently voted to strike down some parts of it as unconstitutional.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is a recipient of DAP. Of course, itong mga project na ginawa natin sa AFP improved our capabilities,” he said. “Minarapat ng ating chief-of-staff na explain na mayroong DAP kasi ang DAP na ‘yan ay subject to criticism, and we want our soldiers to know kung saan napupunta ito.”
Meanwhile, as for the active members, Zagala said they have not monitored any recruitment nor any activities in connection with the alleged destabilization moves against the Aquino administration.
“We remain professional and partisan free,” he added.
On Wednesday, a day after telling the media that retired generals were plotting President Benigno Aquino III’s ouster, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Chief Executive had nothing to worry as the active officers weren’t going along with the plan.
“Mayroong retired military officials na nanghihikayat pero fortunately hindi ito kinagat ng mga active members kaya hindi po siya nagpo-progress into something serious,” Trillanes told reporters.
Asked if the President should be bothered by the supposed move, the senator said “”wala tuloy lang ang trabaho, he can ignore this.”
The camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier denied being behind the supposed destabilization plot against the Aquino administration.
Likewise, former Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon dismissed insinuations that his meeting with active military officers were connected to any destabilization move. (MNS)