Former military officers behind destab – AFP chief

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Some former military officers are behind destabilization attempts against the administration of President Marcos, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. confirmed yesterday. 

Brawner divulged the reported unrest during the change of command ceremony at the Western Mindanao Command between outgoing Westmincom chief Maj. Gen. Steve Crespillo and incoming head Lt. Gen. William Gonzales.

Crespillo was installed as the AFP inspector general, a post that was vacated by Gonzales as he assumed the Westmincom position.

In his address, Brawner disclosed that he heard a lot of calls for destabilization.

“Many were saying to change the President because of many reasons, some are saying there will be coup d’état again,” Brawner said in Filipino.

“And sadly, some of them were former officers of the AFP and I talked to some of them. I said to them, ‘Sir, you have the right to do that because we are in a democracy but please do not involve the active personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’,” Brawner said in mixed English and Filipino.

According to Brawner, many were encouraging individual members of the AFP to join the movement. He said he immediately called on the officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP not to entertain such calls.

The AFP chief added that the reported movement started last Sept. 21, when some groups were calling for soldiers to conduct rallies.

“We know their purpose, so I’m warning my soldiers not to join any of these movements because those times are over and we want our country to move forward,” Brawner told newsmen later. 

“Once we find out that anyone who are active personnel is involved in this we will act swiftly but judiciously. So, let’s not think about it, pity our country, let’s give our country a chance to move forward to progress,” he said.

Year-end deadline

President Marcos gave the military until the end of this year to finally neutralize the “communist terrorist group” and local terrorist groups, Brawner said.

“Our commander-in-chief President Bongbong Marcos gave us until the end of the year to finally neutralize the communist terrorist groups and the local terrorist groups,” Brawner said, citing the daily reports with the score accomplishment of Westmincom in the fight against the NPA and local terror groups.

“So together please make sure before the end of the year 2023 we will be able to achieve our objective of reaching total victory against the local communist terrorist group and the local terrorist group,” Brawner said.

Brawner is confident the AFP could achieve the order of the President, as he claimed that the strength of the communist insurgents has been downgraded, but did not immediately provide figures on rebel numbers.

“I told our soldiers to really work hard and I told them the urgency for us to achieve total victory,” Brawner said.

The AFP chief reiterated his call to Filipinos not to be lured by the recruitment efforts of the “communist terrorist group,” citing various government development and education programs that will enable them to contribute to the development of the country.

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