The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday reaffirmed its loyalty to the Constitution and the duly constituted authority as it assured it will never take part in any sinister plot to overthrow the government.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, stressed that the 135,000-strong military is a professional organization and will never get involved in any adventurism.
“The AFP is an institution loyal to and one with the Constitution. It is a professional institution. We have arms not to fight the state but to protect the people,” Arevalo said in a radio interview.
“We will not entertain such talks because the mandate of the Armed Forces is very clear: to protect the people and secure the state,” he added.
Arevalo was reacting to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison’s warning of possible uprisings from the military against President Rodrigo Duterte because of his decision to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, among other issues.
According to the self-exiled communist leader, it is not far-fetched that disgruntled “pro-American” military personnel are planning to stage a coup against the Chief Executive.
For his part, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told the Daily Tribune that Sison is just trying to make himself noticed by coming out with his statements on VFA.
“He (Sison) is just seeking attention. He does not have any role there…he’s probably wallowing in the abrogation. They (communists) want that but it was not abrogated because of him,” Esperon said.
“He does not figure in the equation there. He just wants to be noticed,” he added.
Other issues being raised against the Duterte administration were the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), press freedom in view of the questioned ABS-CBN franchise, the arrest order against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the continued detention of Sen. Leila de Lima.
Arevalo maintained that the AFP is united behind the duly-constituted government and will not be swayed by such issues.
“The Armed Forces is an institution, we are a professional organization. We may disagree with our commanders, but at the end of the day, it’s very clear to us that we speak with one voice, we follow the chain of command and we obey the duly constituted authority,” he said.
Arevalo, at the same time, dismissed Sison’s warning as a mere propaganda borne out of the latter’s “hallucinations.”
The military, stressed Arevalo, have far more important things to take care of than pay attention to Sison.
“The state has many concerns like threats to its sovereignty, peace and order, and progress. Those are matters we would rather focus on and not some utter nonsense,” Arevalo stated.
with Hananeel Bordey
and Francis T. Wakefield