Amid an ouster plot that involved Vice President Leni Robredo as revealed by Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be “Bikoy” in the series of black propaganda videos, President Rodrigo Duterte broke the ice through a ribbing in a rare meeting between both.
The President and Robredo sat side by side on the stage and even had a handshake at the Philippine Military Academy’s graduation rites in Baguio City yesterday.
“Why is it Ma’am you used to give me a smile? Now there’s none. Ikaw ha (Oh, you)” the President told Robredo who smiled at the remark.
Advincula appeared with police officials last week to reveal that the Liberal Party (LP) who has Robredo as chairman conspired with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in coming up with the viral videos in which “Bikoy” accused Mr. Duterte and his children of being involved in the narcotics trade.
Also implicated by Advincula was the Magdalo group composed of rebel soldiers.
Earlier, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo released a series of matrices linking members of the LP, the Magdalo, and media behind a plot to discredit the President which match Advincula’s revelation.
On 6 May, Advincula appeared at the IBP office in Pasig City to seek legal assistance after claiming there were threats to his life.
Panelo reiterated that neither Duterte nor his family are involved in the narcotics trade since he is the “most powerful advocate against the use of illegal drugs.”
“We reiterate that no member of the First Family has been, is, or will ever be involved in illegal drugs. In the end truth will always come out in full bloom no matter how it is clothed with falsities,” Panelo said.
Panelo, however, welcomed Advincula’s apology to Duterte, his family, and allies.
Duterte in his address during the holding of the rites also issued an order giving pardon to cadets who are facing punishments.
“I therefore say, I Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines hereby pardon all outstanding punishments for the underclassmen — 2CL (second class), 3CL and 4CL of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines as recommended by the Superintendent effective today, 26 May,” the President said in his speech during the graduation ceremony of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Mabalasik Class of 2019.
The order will include all those facing punishments for violation of less grave offenses.
He, however, mentioned that they have yet to check the record as to how many cadets are benefitting from the order.
Maj. Reynan Afan, PMA Information Officer, said a pardon is a president’s prerogative as commander in chief, and is not mandatory.
Tradition of honor
Afan said, under normal circumstances, cadets are mandated to follow several regulations during their stay inside the academy.
“There are rules and regulations which the cadets have to comply with starting from the time they wake up at specific time in the morning and before sleeping,” he said, citing PMA’s book containing rules and regulations.
Afan added that cadets could be reported for not submitting their assignments on time or not coming to class on time, which offenses are in the cadets’ book, and considered less grave offenses.
“It is the cadets’ bible that defines how to live in the cadet corps from the moment they wake up until the moment they sleep there is always a regulation,” the officer said.
Afan said that the two cadets reported to have been delisted from the graduates’ list are not included in the pardon issued.
He clarified that the order specifically mentioned the 2nd, 3rd and 4th class cadets only.
Grave offenses are different matters and are not included in the pardon that the President issued.
“That is Honor Code, an entirely separate entity and is not included,” Afan said.
He said cadets commit violations on two bases — regulation and the honor system.
Prior to signing the order, the President said he “will pardon you this time because I need good and capable soldiers.”