‘They are equally dismayed with the socio-economic ordeal being endured by their loved ones and their communities largely caused by the government’s mishandling of the health crisis.’
THE restiveness in the military seemed evident during President Duterte’s speech to the Army and Special Forces contingent in Jolo, Sulu. Instead of the expected applause and laughter, a strange silence descended on the troops, who applauded only once when the President conveyed his birthday greetings to Sulu Governor Sakur Tan. The soldiers’ families are also hard-hit by the pandemic, their spouses and siblings losing their jobs.
Many have OFW relatives who are suddenly jobless and have remained stranded somewhere in the Middle East. They are equally dismayed with the socio-economic ordeal being endured by their loved ones and their communities largely caused by the government’s mishandling of the health crisis.
The AFP ranks remain appalled and quietly agitated over the cold-blooded shooting of two army intelligence officers and two of their men by the police in Jolo that elicited an anemic and a very disappointing response from Malacanang.
The police had earlier killed an unarmed and mentally-unstable soldier in Quezon City.
Unlike the PNP that succumbed to the presidential command to shoot down “resisting” drug suspects, the military had reluctantly given in to wipe out the NPA rebels, which was the President’s renewed call to arms. The encounters with the rebels had mounted a year after he took office but the killings had not been as rampant as the EJKs. Loyalty to the Constitution had not been replaced by blind or political subservience.
Every soldier is grounded on the 1987 Constitution’s provision that the “military is the protector of the people,” the same battle cry espoused by the RAM and Young Officers’ Union (YOU) in launching a series of bloody coup attempts against the government of President Cory Aquino.
On the President’s Jolo speech, Solita Monsod wrote: “There was no applause when he bragged about giving them all their medical needs (P50 million a year to P50 million a month), plus equipment; no applause when he was saying that they had but to ask and it would be granted. here was no laughter (nervous or otherwise) when he gave out his expletives and crude language. Stony silence when he pooh-poohed human rights (observing human rights is part of the soldiers’ Code of Conduct).”