Friday, September 24, 2004

NR0925: On surrender of Oakwood mutineers

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release September 25, 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Oakwood mutineers' capitulation a victory for the corrupt leadership of the
AFP - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed disappointment over the
capitulation of the leaders of the Magdalo group, saying that it was a betrayal
of the ideals of the younger and more upright members of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) who have yet to give up their demands for reforms in the
AFP and the entire military bureaucracy. Beltran said that the leaders of the
Magdalo group's capitulation will all the more contribute to the deterioration
of the AFP and strengthen the grip of corruption and demoralization in the
military bureauracy and leadership.

"They should apologize more to the Filipino people who believed their exposes
and accusations of corruption against the AFP leadership. It is bad enough that
these young men who for a brief and shining moment took a strong and dignified
stand against the deeply-ingrained corruption in the military retracted on
their accusations against the likes of Gen. Angelo Reyes and Brig. Gen. Victor
Corpus and former PNP Director General Hermogenes Ebadane Jr., but they also
vowed to work with the national government in its supposed campaign against
corruption," he said. "They gave up more than their principles - they sold out
to the very government that betrayed their ideals."

The veteran labor leader said that the even as he did not agree with the means
utilized by the former mutineers, he recognized the legitimacy of their demands
when they launched their actions last year.

"They were instrumental in throwing light upon the moral degradation and
corruption eating away at the AFP, and exposing why precisely the AFP can
never be called the army of the Filipino people. What these young officers did
last year was a milestone in the struggle for reforms in the military and could
have led to the further exposure and eventual relief of the most corrupt
officials of the AFP. It's just too bad that they chose to retract their
statements the way they have," he said.

Beltran said that he was certain that Malacanang has made an offer to the
young officers could not refuse. He said that he was highly skeptical that
Malacanang will not eventually give amnesty to the Magdalo leaders and the
other officers who joined the Oakwood mutiny. "Most likely Malacanang wants to
appear both magnanimous but stern in announcing that the officers will not be
given amnesty. Eventually, however, the real deal will be revealed and the
amnesty will be granted. Malacanang is desperate to secure the military's
support and will go to great lengths to bribe or buy off all possible
dissidents within the AFP's ranks."

Beltran said that even if the Magdalo leaders have given up, he was certain that
there are still strong currents of dissent and disgust within the military rank
and file. "Since the Oakwood incident, there has been no visible reform within
the AFP. Not one of the legitimate demands made by the mutineers was met,
and none of the issues they brought forth was settled. If anything, things in
the military have gotten worse. Reyes, Corpus and Ebdane are still in
positions of power and corruption's roots are still firmly planted in the AFP.
It will not be surprising if there were be more uprisings from within the
military denouncing the corruption and lack of genuine effort to clean up the
bureaucracy on the part of the national government," he said. #


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