By Angie M. Rosales, with Gerry Baldo
The Daily Tribune
21 January 2006
Reported talks of increasing strength of rebel forces right within the military organization and right under the very nose of their superiors were confirmed yesterday by Senator Rodolfo Biazon who disclosed to reporters that "talks" are ongoing between two known underground organization of young soldiers. His revelation was coupled with insinuations of impending "reforms" within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), raising the alarm over the emergence of the New AFP. New AFP is an old name, once identified with former President Fidel V. Ramos, immediately after he assumed the position of chief of staff of the military during the Aquino administration.
The senator, during an interview with reporters, confessed to being privy to the reported holding of talks between the Young Officers Union (YOU) and the Young Officers Union-new generation (YOUng), saying this information came his way through some of the members of the two underground organizations. But the senator who has since been constantly in touch with soldiers from the time the issue on the wiretapping of President Arroyo, which implicated four generals, failed to elaborate on the possible merging of forces between the two groups.
This developed when the military top brass reportedly met in a secret command conference at Camp Aguinaldo discussing the growing strength among the ranks of rebel soldiers in their organization. It was also alleged that latest intelligence reports showed a military coup in the offing.
The senator failed to specify if the holding of talks by YOU and YOUng forms part of the alleged intelligence report, which was included in the agenda during the secret command conference. When told of their alleged talks, Biazon was also made aware of YOU and YOUng's dissatisfaction with the administration, especially with the way things are being handled lately concerning affairs in the military and issues against their superiors. Biazon noted that the long-time YOU, whose members now have the rank of colonel up and the relatively new group YOUng, whose members are presumably younger, have found a common cause. Which is to fight the prostitution of professionalism in the AFP, as shown by anomalies in the appointment process, with a spate of promotions and new assignments of officials being questioned in connection with the wiretapping controversy.
"There is now increasing concern over what was shown yesterday during the Senate committee investigation on wiretapping issue. In the past the The only issue raised by Magdalo in the past , that drove them to that Oakwood incident, were anomalies in the AFP. Today another issue is added - the prostitution of professionalism in the AFP as expressed in the questioned advance in rank and in position.of people who were involved in controversial issues.
Biazon was also intrigued by the reappearance of the name, "New AFP", which was used in the statement of the four escaped Magdalo officers. "It reminded me of Feb. 1986 immediately after the assumption to office of President Aquino, where then Gen. Ramos was appointed as chief of staff and he added to the AFP the word New. "Now I do not know if there is a relationship in the emergence of that old name that is being claimed to be a new one." he said. Asked what could be the reason for the use of the same name, the senator theorized that they may want the culture of the military which was developed during the Marcos regime, exorcised.
Another interesting development is the flashing of the Edsa I pictures in the website of Marines Capt. Nicanor Faeldon, every time a window is opened. Earlier, no Edsa picture was being flashed on this site.
A member of the political opposition on the Lower House, Cavite Representative Gilbert Remulla, yesterday warned the Arroyo administration it had better watch out for the recent developments, particularly the escape of four Magdalo soldiers. According to the Representative the members of the opposition would have to make a stand on the alleged brewing coup'd etat. "We are viewing the escaped Oakwood mutineers with much interest. And there seems to be a lot of help from fellow soldiers. That being the case, we feel there is a lot of sympathy for these soldiers. And so the administration had better watch out," Remulla said yesterday at the weekly Newsdesk CafĂ© media forum in Quezon City.
Remulla also said that the minority bloc in the House has now started to prepare for the next impeachment case, saying "we have already appointed an impeachment team to be headed by Ronnie Zamora," he said.
Remulla, however said the people are not prepared for a military junta even as he said they would not advocate another people power. "We see regime change as a very good bonus. We just want to fight for the truth at this point. Regime change would not really be our end goal."
Francisco Nemenzo, head of the Laban ng Masa, called yesterday on "patriotic forces in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)" to unite and join the people in ousting Mrs. Arroyo. "Laban ng Masa calls on all patriotic forces in the AFP to unite with the people in a concerted push to oust the GMA regime, end the system of elite rule and establish a transitional revolutionary government," the group said in a statement. The group also welcomed the statement issued by the four Magdalo escapees that they "do not merely seek a change in personalitiesâ€¦ but a change in the system where the people's interests will be truly supreme". "Discontent and disgust over the rotten system of elite and traditional politicians rule in our country pervades even within the military establishment, particularly among the junior officers and rank-and-file soldiers. This points to the popular sentiment that what is needed is not just an Edsa-type changing of presidents, but an overhaul of the elite system to usher in thoroughgoing social reforms and genuine people's democracy," Nemenzo said.