Biazon Warns Military Men against Partisanship

Manila Bulletin, December 6, 2000 | Go to article overview

Biazon Warns Military Men against Partisanship


Sen. Rodolfo Biazon yesterday warned active military officials against heeding the divisive advice of retired military men who have taken sides in the ongoing controversy involving calls for President Estrada's ouster.

While the country is bedeviled by the political crisis, Biazon said, the military should be intact and unperturbed so that it can attend to its constitutional duty of protecting the interest of the people.

He expressed alarm though over a "tug of war" between the Erap Resign Movement (ERM) and the Save Erap Movement.

"This division is now being apparent through the several classes of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) expressing separate support either for President Estrada or Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo," Biazon said.

"Military partisanship is a threat to a democracy," he said. "Our soldiers should instead be left alone."

Biazon said that the PMA Class '71, a senior class, had earlier announced its support for the President, through Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Panfilo Lacson, and even adopted him as an honorary member.

On the other hand, he said, PMA Class '78 made Arroyo an honorary member. Members of the class reportedly threatened to go on a mass leave in support of the vice president.

Active senior officers belonging to PMA Class '71 include PNP National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Edgardo Aglipay, Department of National Defense (DND) senior military assistant Brig. Gen. Marcelino "Jake" Malajacan, PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Chief Supt. Francisco Zubia, and the Armed Forces Chief of Civil Relations Service Brig. Gen. Jaime Canatoy.

"All the members of these PMA classes are still in the active service," Biazon said.

The soldier-turned-senator expressed that similar and varied sentiments from other PMA classes and the non-PMA graduates could result in the polarization and division of the AFP, and eventual the "politicization" of military personnel.

"This is not what is envisioned by the Constitution's Article 16, Section 5 (3) which states that the Armed Forces shall be insulated from partisan politics and that no member of the military shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote," Biazon stressed.

He clarified that retired General Fortunato Abat was mistaken when he cited Section 3, Article 3 of the Constitution, in calling for those active in military service to intervene in resolving the political crisis. The provision defines Armed Forces of the Philippines as protectors of the people and the state.

"The Constitution gives no right to the soldiers to judge the government and if, in their judgment, the government is failing to deliver, they can't assume power to remove or replace the government," Biazon reiterated. …

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