June 23, 2018, 6:01 am
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‘Restive’

THE officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines seem more restless today than before and they are not allowed to show it. Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano has issued a warning to Malacanang that the Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea has whipped up war clouds over the ranks of the AFP.

It is not hard to tell that they would virtually squirm in their seats each time President Duterte announced that the military faces a massacre at the hands of the Chinese. The AFP has been made out as a pitiful force ready to be outfought by the more superior Chinese invaders.

Military casualties from the prolonged Marawi siege and continued clashes with the NPAs have somehow convinced President Duterte that the rest of the soldiers no longer deserve to die for their country. Duterte unfairly speculates that the military would bring him down if he sends them to do battle with the Chinese and forgets that the AFP has long embraced their constitutional duty “to protect the people.”

President Duterte seems to forget that Gen. Douglas MacArthur regarded Filipino soldiers as the best in the world. After all, it was an American, Gen James Wainwright, and not the Filipinos, who called for their surrender at Bataan. In his farewell speech at West Point he paid a glowing tribute to Filipinos who defended Bataan and Corregidor, saying “give me one hundred Filipinos and I will conquer the world.”

Guilt seems to plague Duterte especially after sending ill-prepared and ill-equipped soldiers into warfare they had not been trained for. He thinks he is speaking for the military, which does not need anyone to shield them from combat against any foreign forces, superior or otherwise. Yet, in the long tradition of the Filipino soldier from the Katipunan uprising to the American and Japanese occupation, restraint in the face of any strong foreign or imperialist incursions was not part of the character of our men-in-arms.

Only Aguinaldo fostered a cowardly retreat which had been unknown to the rest of the gung ho Katipuneros who were misled to believe the humiliating blunder to be strategic. Quezon refused to leave the famished and weary forces in Bataan to join them to the end until MacArthur threatened to have him arrested.

The families of the fallen and fearless officers and soldiers of the AFP - and Duterte - were not prepared for the worst. In scores of news videos the President himself seemed visibly distressed as they were cut down one by one in Marawi. His heart had also gone out for the massacred SAF 44 in Mamasapano. TV news also showed he could hardly contain his grief when he met with their families. Indeed, he was just being a father to hundreds of thousands in the military who risk losing their lives in a lopsided war against China.

***

PNP Chief Oscar Abayalde seems forthright in getting not only the best but also the most upright right officers to make up his inner circle in Camp Crame.

Three of them, Chief Supt. Cesar Binag and Mao Aplasca and Senior Supt. Benigno “Bong” Durana, are known to be unquestionably honest and capable. They had been shunted from one unforgettable post to another in often embarrassing episodes until their integrity and competence finally shone through.

Binag was chief of the car registration division at Crame but proved to be thoroughly honest that he had to be removed. A major car manufacturer and a prominent car dealer had promptly delivered two brand new SUVs at his doorstep which, to most officers in Crame, was the usual SOP for all who headed the unit.

Binag was expected to sign the papers for each new car without question to maintain the daily huge car revenues. But Binag immediately returned the two vehicles, to the dismay of his superiors who were apparently on the take.

From Region 6 as regional commander, he is now chief of the Directorate for Communications and Information Technology. Binag was also deputy chief of a UN peacekeeping force in Syria who refused to stand down in the face of imminent terrorist attacks.

Durana served as chief of the notorious Cubao precinct which operated a stable of pickpockets and holduppers victimizing shoppers and commuters at the bustling commercial district. In no time he had them either in jail or scurrying to other areas in Quezon City and Pasig where police protectors gladly welcomed them. He became provincial director of Aklan where he turned down an SOP of P600,000 for supervising a P6M renovation of the provincial headquarters.

Aplasca is now Deputy Chief for Operations. He previously served as regional commander of Region 4A where he effectively neutralized illegal gambling and drug syndicates, despite the repeated threats to his life.

They were all part of a Biblical ministry this columnist had put up many years ago.
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