Stay Apolitical, Uphold the Constitution, Abu Orders Military

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Top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday ordered the 120,000-strong military organization to stay apolitical and uphold the supremacy of the Constitution amid mounting calls for President Arroyo to resign in order to save the country from the worsening political and economic difficulties.

In a statement read by AFP deputy chief of staff Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan, AFP chief of staff General Efren Abu also warned anew all military personnel against meddling in any political activity as he stressed that the role of the Filipino soldier is to defend the Constitution and the sovereignty of the country.

Abu issued the call after a onehour meeting at the AFP General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City with senior military officials.

"The call of various parties for the President to resign in view of her alleged wrongdoing is now undergoing Constitutional process that is legal and within the democratic processes our nation lives within," Abu said.

"The respect for the freedom of expression is being demonstrated in our streets. It is our duty to ensure that these freedoms are kept alive," he added.

Adan, meanwhile, said that they have received intelligence reports that some disgruntled elements in the military are planning to join the destabilization activities against the Arroyo government.

Adan said that they have mobilized intelligence personnel to counter efforts by the disgruntled AFP members on taking advantage of the political crisis.

He said some of those military officers attempted to persuade their colleagues to use their respective offices, equipment and their subordinates to pursue their objectives of overthrowing the administration.

"I am aware of the efforts by some persons, some of them former military, to give a new meaning to what is true professionalism," the AFP chief of staff said.

Abu said that the disgruntled military officers were convincing other AFP personnel to join their cause by "expressing their own opinion in a manner that is below the dignity of the soldier of the Armed Forces such as issuing a manifesto or a group opinion. …