|(Photo by Kawal Pinoy)|
by Andrei Medina/ELR/DVM, GMA News
Published in gmanetwork.com
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang on Saturday said “loyalty checks” were not the purpose of his current field visits, and neither did he see a need for them as the troops were focused on their ongoing missions, including that of addressing the peace and order situation in Mindanao.
“The soldiers are all loyal to the republic, so there's no need for a loyalty check,” Catapang said during a press conference in Camp Navarro, Zamboanga City.
Last Tuesday Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed some retired generals associated with former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were sowing seeds of destabilization.
Catapang has belied this and said the AFP remained a professional organization.
This was not the first time Catpang has had to quash rumors of unrest in the armed forces.
Last July 24, Catapang denied that soldiers were planning to stage a coup d'etat following the Supreme Court's declaration that sections of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were unconstitutional.
Though he was a member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) - a group of soldiers who tried to overthrow the government of then President Corazon Aquino, President Benigno Aquino III's mother - Catapang said that there was no justification for a coup today.
The armed forces chief explained last July that the RAM was formed to bring a return to "ethics, fair mindedness, orderliness and morality."
"Ang tingin ko na-restore na lahat 'yon, nabalik na yung ethics sa atin, righteousness... matuwid na daan na tayo," Catapang said.
"Na-experience na natin yan nung mga panahon ng 1980's, so tapos na tayo diyan. We have more, bigger problems. Yun nga sinasabi ko panay global problems na hinahanap natin."
Meanwhile, Catapang said Satruday that he had directed AFP Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero to increase the military's presence in Talipao.
“We are moving in support of the law enforcement operations and then stabilizing the area with additional police and military forces especially in Talipao,” Guerrero said.
Last Monday, 23 people were killed after suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen ambushed a convoy in Talipao, Sulu. The convoy was headed to a Muslim feast marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
According to Guerrero, they received reports that the kin of those killed in the ambush were plotting to take revenge on the bandit group.
Guerrero said the AFP was supporting the local police of Sulu for the proper investigation and filing of charges against the suspects of the Talipao killings.