The militarization of the bureaucracy
(The Freeman) - June 11, 2019 - 12:00am

There is a striking similarity between President Rodrigo Duterte and former president Ferdinand Marcos in terms of appointing retired military officers to the different branches of government bureaucracy. The underlying reason for selection is based solely on blind loyalty and not professional competence. Marcos preferred retired generals who were Ilocanos or who came from the Ilocos region while Duterte has chosen generals who came from his place in Davao.

Marcos appointed Gen. Fabian Ver, his cousin, a non-PMAyer whose only qualification was that he was a corps commander of the UP Vanguard in ROTC. This alienated the professional military officers who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy.

The first manifestation of the military’s disenchantment to the Marcos rule was shown when a group of young and idealist mistahs displayed a banner that read “We Belong” during their commencement exercise in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City.

As it turned out, this group of young officers formed the core membership of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), later renamed Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa, who defected to the Enrile-Ramos side during the EDSA Revolution. The rest is history.

President Duterte should not fall into the same trap that Marcos did, especially since he has no military background compared to Marcos who was a major in the Philippine Army. Like Marcos, however, he showered the military with manna from heaven by increasing their salaries by leaps and bounds

Marcos’ “Ilocanization” of the military was his own undoing. It was a divisive tactic that caused discontent among the professional corps that resulted in their withdrawal of support. In any regime, popular or otherwise, when the military withdraws its support, the game is over.

Rene F. Antiga

Banilad, Mandaue City

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