Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Loren backs Ibrado extension as AFP chief


“President Arroyo should give the next President to be elected on May 10 the privilege and prerogative to designate the new chief of staff,” Loren said.

“General Ibrado’s extension as AFP chief of staff for a period up to and beyond the May 10 elections would also boost the Filipino people’s confidence in the integrity of the elections on May 10,” said Loren.

She explained that the appointment of a new chief of staff at this point in time could be considered by the people as a “highly partisan move” intended to influence the results of the elections.

She recalled that many people lost their faith in the integrity of the 2004 presidential elections when it was revealed that the President had bypassed officers considered “uncooperative” to the administration and promoted others to strategic positions that enabled them to “influence” the results of the elections.

This was revealed during the investigation of the “Garci tape” that showed some officers allegedly participating in electoral frauds in Mindanao. Loren, who was running for vice president and her running mate for president, Fernando Poe Jr., lost in that election allegedly due to massive “dagdag-bawas” (add-collect) fraud.

According to Loren, the appointment of a new chief of staff who is lower in seniority than other officers would “cause low morale and dissatisfaction among the officer corps and even the rank-and-file.”
Press reports said that President Arroyo was considering the appointment of a new chief of staff who is of lower seniority than other officers still in active service.

Loren said that Ibrado has had a “long and distinguished record in the military as a highly professional soldier, noted for his integrity and loyalty to the service and to his country. He also has the respect of the rank-and-file.”

According to Loren, “It is crucial that our people should perceive that the May elections shall be held in an orderly and honest manner, and that the military should stay neutral, stay out of politics and take action only to maintain order and safeguard the ballot upon order of the duly constituted authorities, like the Commission on Elections.”

“This should not be repeated, because a second or third time around could lead to disastrous consequences for the stability and future of our Republic,” warned Loren, who topped her class in post-graduate studies at the National.

Top military officials, as well as retired officers and military men facing charges of coup d’etat, are backing Ibrado’s extension in the face of reports that President Arroyo is allegedly thinking of replacing him as AFP chief of staff with army chief Lieutenant General Delfin Bangit who is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)’s class 1978.

She is expected to make an announcement on changes on the AFP leadership on March 1 during the PMA graduation in Baguio City. Bangit is a member of Class 78 while Arroyo is an adopted member of that class. If appointed as the next AFP chief, Bangit will bypass senior military officers of PMA class 1976 and 1977, critics said. They added Bangit’s appointment might create unrest in the military itself. He is believed to be “fiercely loyal” to the President.

The Magdalo Group which staged the short-lived mutiny in 2003 also opposed Bangit’s appointment. Extending Ibrado’s tour will ensure that the May elections will be credible, said the group’s spokesman, Lt. Ashley Acedillo.
He added that appointing Army chief Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, perceived to be an Arroyo loyalist, as successor "will trigger suspicions."

Acedillo’s group is composed of around 300 junior officers and men accused of staging a coup d’etat in protesting alleged anomalies and corruption in the armed forces.

Via: http://lorenlegarda.com.ph/news_103_Loren_backs_Ibrado_extension_as_AFP_chief.php

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