MANILA — The ongoing trouble in the Philippine political arena has no influence on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
In an Associated Press (AP) report, Gazmin said there was no sign of unrest within the 120,000-strong military after police placed Arroyo under hospital arrest Friday on charges of electoral sabotage.
The same report also quoted Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo as saying he sees no need to raise the alert level anywhere in the country.
In a Manila Times report, Southern Luzon chief Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali said the military is immune to the ongoing rift between Malacañang and the camp of the former President.
“I appeal to these groups, whoever they may be, to stop sowing intrigues in the rank of the AFP. This is not good and has no factual basis,” Detabali said. Detabali belongs to the Philippine Military Class of 1978, to which Arroyo is an adopted member.
Rumors claimed that members of the PMA Class ’78 are holding meetings in the wake of the present administration’s decision to file criminal charges against the former President and the issuance of a warrant of arrest against her.
Detabali said he is not aware of such meetings, adding that he hasn’t heard from the batch president, former chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP Maj. Gen. Romeo Preztosa and former chief of staff Gen. Delfin Bangit, who prematurely retired last June 22, several days before President Aquino III formally took office.
Many observers believe it is the Constitution, and not the military, that’s going to be directly affected by the latest political wrangling. A constitutional crisis already began when the government defied an order allowing Arroyo to leave the country to seek medical treatment on November 18.
Fortunately for Executive, the Pasay City Regional Trial Court broke the impasse between the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court by issuing a warrant of arrest on Arroyo.
The case stemmed from the Commission on Elections and the Department of Justice joint panel investigating the alleged massive election cheating in the 2007 senatorial elections. Aside from Arroyo, the others charged were former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Comelec election supervisor Lintang Bedol.
The legal battle between the government and the Arroyos is still long. SecurityMatters believes there will be legal controversies coming up as the two sides try to outdo each other in the courts.
It remains to be seen if the government can file in court the six plunder cases it said it had built against Arroyo. The present administration should come up with credible witnesses in the electoral sabotage charges it has filed against Arroyo. Otherwise, the former president can consider all of these as just distractions.