THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

The calls of former president Duterte and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez that the island of Mindanao should secede from the Philippines were mainly ignored. The said call was even criticized and shrugged off by some legislators and mayors of various places in Mindanao. Nothing came of the supposed signature campaign to get the approval of the people of Mindanao for the island to secede.

This time, Alvarez takes a different approach. In a rally held in Tagum City last Sunday, Alvarez urged the AFP to withdraw its support for President Bongbong Marcos Jr. to prevent a war between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). He is referring to the resupply missions to our soldiers stationed at BRP Sierra Madre that have angered Beijing. We have seen previous incidents where water cannons were used on our ships carrying supplies.

The larger Chinese Coast Guard ships also blocked the way of our smaller supply ships, in some instances coming too close. In Alvarez's mind, this might be enough for war to erupt at the WPS in which many Filipinos will perish because our AFP cannot go toe-to-toe with the Chinese military. Does Alvarez want the resupply missions to stop? Does he want our soldiers to vacate the ship and practically give up our sovereign claim to Ayungin Shoal? Is there some truth to China's statement that someone promised to remove the rusting ship from Ayungin?

However, the AFP also ignored Alvarez's call and declared that they would support the Philippine Constitution and follow the chain of command. President Marcos is the commander-in-chief of the AFP. But National Security adviser Eduardo Año, former AFP chief of staff, did not let this slide calling Alvarez's call "illegal, unconstitutional and seditious." Sedition is a serious offense.

If Alvarez's call to the AFP is indeed seditious why has he not been arrested and charged? Compare this to the treatment of Trillanes and others in 2020 under the Duterte administration. They were immediately charged with sedition. However, the court dismissed the cases against them in 2023. Marcos was right when he said that his relationship with the Dutertes was "complicated". Duterte's clan has thrown several insults against Marcos over the years. But Marcos ignored them and immediately clarified that his relationship with his vice president was fine. It is said that Vice President Sara Duterte just wants to work and not pay attention to the "noises”. As it should be.

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