Press Release
March 12, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should stop pretending that she does not know the basic reasons why the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continues to be wracked by unrest and divisiveness.

Pimentel challenged the President to be forthright and transparent as she plans to hold a dialogue with the restive military officers and men to look into the root causes of their discontent and the recurrent coup threats against her government.

With or without a dialogue, Mrs. Arroyo knows what is causing all these troubles in the military establishment. But if she will keep evading the issue, then that dialogue will be only for show and nothing tangible will come out of it, he said.

Pimentel said if the President is determined to quell the tension and disenchantment in the AFP, the first thing she must do is order the release of the report of the AFP Inspector Generals office on its investigation into the senior military officers who were mentioned in the Hello Garci tapes as allegedly involved in the 2004 electoral fraud in Mindanao.

He assailed the failure of the AFP leadership to disclose the findings and recommendations of the investigation report several months after it was completed and submitted by then Inspector General, Rear Admiral Mateo Mayuga, now flag-officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy.

They are keeping the Mayuga report under wraps obviously because the President has prevented them from declassifying it. Why should the report be kept under wraps when it is a public document and the Filipino people, including the 120,000 members of the AFP, are entitled to know its contents? the senator from Mindanao said.

The refusal to release the report, according to Pimentel, has no doubt contributed to the restiveness in the military.

Pimentel said the situation was aggravated when the generals implicated in the alleged poll rigging in Mindanao were promoted to juicy positions even before the AFP Inspector General could conclude the investigation.

On the other hand, certain military officers, like former Marine Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan, who mustered the courage to expose the election anomalies in Mindanao were harassed by the AFP leadership and are now facing court martial proceedings.

He said the perceived endemic corruption in the AFP, particularly among the senior officers should likewise be addressed and eliminated if the unrest and demoralization in the military are to be quelled.

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