Brewing mutiny in the ranks of Philippine military?

Updated On: Jul 08, 2005

Manila - Top military leaders have publicly pledged their loyalty to embattled President Glorio Arroyo. But dissenting voices among the rank-and-file continue to be heard - so much so that the resignation of a three-star general sparked talk that the "mass exodus" had started. 

    Northern Luzon Command, Lieutenant-General Romeo Dominguez, had submitted a resignation letter on to the President on June 15. The  general said his resignation, which will take effect on July 15, had nothing to do with "Gloriagate" - the scandal that arose from audio tapes of tapped phone conversations that purportedly had Mrs Arroyo asking the top election official to guarantee her a million-vote margin in last year’s presidential elections.
    Lt-Gen Dominguez, who was due to retire in October, said he resigned early because he wanted to "enjoy my excess leave".  
    His departure came after Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a former military chief, warned that junior officers were considering quitting their posts or go on mass leave in protest of the alleged role in election fraud by high-ranking military officials. 
    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was dragged into Gloriagate after several generals were mentioned in the alleged tapes. 
    Mr Biazon said on July 5 the rank and file are "mad", because instead of being investigated, the senior officers mentioned in the tapes even got promoted. 
    "Is this the culture we want to propagate - to allow ourselves to be used to get promoted?" Mr Biazon quoted one of the junior officers he met at an undisclosed location on July 2. 
     He described the officers he met as "professional soldiers who want to protect the non-partisan role of the AFP. One said they cannot accept the 'prostitution of professionalism' within the AFP and that they are supposed to be insulated from partisan politics".
    The Senator said he advised the soldiers from tendering mass resignation or leave of absence and to allow due process to operate.  He added that he would file a Senate resolution to investigate these senior military officers only if there is no appropriate investigation by the AFP and the Defence Department.

* AFP Nolcom chief resignation does not signal mass exodus (Inquirer News Service, July 7)

* Soldiers to go on leave if tapes are no investigated (The Manila Times, July 6)