Let’s be professional here!

Posted: June 12, 2010 in Philippine military, Philippine politics

PGMA bidding farewell to the troops

No matter what differences a military officer has with his commander-in-chief, he must be professional and remain an officer and a gentleman.

Even if the CiC is the outgoing PGMA, acknowledged to be the most unpopular chief executive the Philippines ever had.  Thankfully, the Marcoses are not expected to dispute this fact and claim the ‘honor’ for the late Ferdinand Marcos.

Today’s Inquirer reports that Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, who was earlier bypassed for promotion as commanding general of the Philippine Army by Arroyo, yesterday skipped the traditional testimonial parade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the outgoing President and Commander in Chief.

In my opinion, Gen. Ferrer should not have behaved in that manner.  He should be tried by court martial for this offense.

Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer

What’s with some of the security top brass these days?  We hear talk that political appointees to the diplomatic corps, some of which are retired military and police generals, are not won’t to give up their cushy overseas sinecures?

And how about the “Emperor”, whose only claim to fame is the shameless throwing-away of five hundred peso notes during an infamous birthday celebration a few years ago?  Who flip-flopped between upholding the chain of command and shamelessly clinging to his post?  Who had the gall to claim that he was under attack and that an attack on him was also an attack on the entire military?

The gods first make crazy whom they want to destroy?

GMA and Gen. Ferrer in happier circumstances

In my opinion, the source, the original sin, that spawned all of these problems is the declaration of martial law in 1972.  In the process, the military has gained a greater role in running the affairs of the country–a role so far removed from its original mandate.

Having had a taste of what could be, the restoration of democracy in 1986 did not restore the military to status quo ante 1972.  Having let out the genie from the bottle, it will not willingly return to its former confinement. Or consider this more vivid picture: try returning all of the toothpaste after you have squeeze it out of the tube!

Especially if the military leaders have learned to believe that civilians cannot put our republic in order.  More so, if they believe they are better than civilians in doing so. And even more so if civilians continue to demonstrate that they cannot do so.

The fact that we have on-going internal wars means that the security forces will have a heavy influence on the country’s affairs.  On the other hand, I am aware that for some military officers, their being engaged in non-military activities (such as being “in aid of elections”) detracts from and even weakens the military as an institution and a fighting force.

I am also aware of their complaints vis-a-vis their commanding officers re inadequate quarter-mastering and the lack of support of civilian politicians by way of bad governance.  In many front-line communities, the government presence is that of the security forces (with its civil-military or civic action arms) doing what absentee LGU execs and officials should be doing in the first place.

Many of my former comrades complain about the militarization of our society.  At the risk of sounding facetious, what we need is a militarized military.  A demilitarized military is a politicized one–a military that it believes it has non-military tasks and obligations.

On the other hand, a militarized military is a military organization which is under civilian control and which has a limited, purely military task.  None of the dwisfungsi of the Indonesian armed forces.

A militarized military is a de-politicized and professional military.  Such a military force is an effective one.  Such is the military of a modern society.

As we celebrate our country’s independence, we recognize the pivotal role that the revolutionary army played in that struggle against the Spanish and American colonialists.  We note too that the Armed Forces of the Philippines traces its lineage to that same revolutionary army.

To honor that revolutionary lineage, we should fully militarized the Philippine military.  Let’s make it a professional military.


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