Number of ex-soldiers, cops running in polls highest in 2 decades


Written by Kristine Servando

‘They have been developing agents in
society,’ says analyst

MANILA, Philippines—At least 48 retired soldiers and police
officers, including high-ranking Cabinet officials and alleged coup
plotters, are vying for national and local government posts this
year—the biggest batch in over 23 years.

According to previous
Newsbreak reports, at least 27 retired military and policemen ran in
the 2007 elections, at least 10 in 2004, and at least 22 in the 2001
elections.

Forty-seven retired cops and soldiers ran in elections
between 1987, when uniformed men first began to seek elective posts,
and 2001.

These officers who have ventured out of the barracks
represent a mix of political leanings, parties, and leadership styles
that characterize the armed forces and police.

Among this year’s
crop of candidates are allies of outgoing President Arroyo, who was
known to keep close ties with loyal officers throughout her 9-year term.

Leading
the pack is former Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr.,
who is running for representative of Pangasinan’s sixth district. He
was appointed as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process shortly
after his retirement.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita is
running for congressman (Batangas 1st District), the same post he held
for 3 terms, from 1992 to 2001.

Meanwhile, Arroyo’s close aide,
former Public Works Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., is running for governor
of Zambales. He considered running for president under the Lapiang
Manggagawa Party, but bowed out in November last year for lack of funds.

Mutineers’ club?

In
sharp contrast, there are 4 soldiers seeking to be elected this year
who were involved in attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

Gunning
for seats in the Senate are Col. Ariel Querubin (Nacionalista Party),
who led a stand-off at Marine headquarters in 2006, and Brig. Gen.
Danilo Lim (Independent), who figured in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and
the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Junior officers Fermin Mabulo
(NP) and Francisco Ashley Acedillo (Independent), both of whom were
involved in the Oakwood Mutiny, are running for Congress.

Mabulo
is up against Dato Arroyo (Lakas) for the 2nd district seat in
Camarines Sur. Acedillo, a bemedalled tactical pilot and spokesman for
the Magdalo group that staged the 2003 mutiny, is running as
representative of Cebu’s 1st district.

Some mutineers have had luck in previous elections.

In
2007, Navy Lt. Antonio Trillanes IV was elected Senator while he was in
jail and facing charges of plotting a coup d’etat against the Arroyo
government.

Former Sen. Gringo Honasan, who led a series of
unsuccessful coup attempts against the Aquino administration, was
elected Senator in 1995, 2001, and 2007.

Others have not been as
lucky, like Eduardo Matillano, an Arroyo ally, who had also figured in
1980s coups. In 2007, he ran for mayor of Puerto Princesa city but lost
to Edward Hagedorn.

Matillano this year is running against Hagedorn again and 2 other
candidates for the same mayoral post.

Return bouts

At
least 10 are up for re-election or are returning from previous
electoral losses—including former intelligence officers, a suspected
jueteng operator, a “butcher,” a Philippine Military Academy (PMA)
official, and a grandson of a national hero.

Robert Delfin,
credited for capturing a slew of communist leaders in the 1970s, is
gunning for the same position he ran for in 2007—the lone congressional
seat of Antique.

As an intelligence agent at the now-defunct
Philippine Constabular, Delfin captured Jose Ma. Sison and the slain
New People’s Army leader Romulo Kintanar, former Communist Party chair
Rodolfo Salas, among others.

Gerardo Flores, also a veteran
intelligence officer and 3-term mayor of Miag-ao town in Iloilo, is
running as provincial board member. He ran as representative of
Iloilo’s 2nd district but lost.

Restituto Mosqueda, who was
implicated by whistleblower Sandra Cam in a jueteng scandal, is running
for mayor of Estancia, Iloilo.

Cam testified before a Senate
hearing in 2005 that members of the Arroyo family were reportedly
getting pay-offs from jueteng, an illegal numbers game. Mosqueda ran as
mayor of an Iloilo town in 2007.

Meanwhile, 2 Abayas are slugging
it out for separate congressional seats in Cavite. Joseph Emilio Abaya,
grandson of Emilio Aguinaldo, wants a third term as Cavite 1st district
representative. His father Plaridel Abaya, from whom he sort of
inherited that congressional seat, is seeking the new congressional
seat of Bacoor (the town was carved out of the old 1st district).

The
older Abaya had served as 1st district congressman for 9 years before
his son Joseph succeeded him. Plaridel Abaya, a retired constabulary
colonel, is up against Lakas bet Lani Mercado-Revilla, actress and wife
of re-electionist Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.

Former Sen. Rodolfo
Biazon, newly elected chairperson of the PMA Alumni Board, is switching
places with his son, Rep. Rufino Rozzano “Ruffy” Biazon, in Muntinlupa.
The elder Biazon is running for representative of Muntinlupa’s lone
district, while Ruffy Biazon is running for senator.

Bantay
party-list Rep. Jovito Palparan is running for senator as an
independent. Palparan was nicknamed “The Butcher” for his suspected
involvement in numerous killings of activists. He earlier said he’s
running for senator to hound the Leftists who are also seeking Senate
seats.

‘Mistah’ matters

Interestingly, a handful of these
soldiers and policemen are running under the same political party as
their adopted honorary members in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

PMA classes have been adopting civilians and politicians as honorary
members of their batch for many years.

This
is seen as a way for PMA classes to gain financial or career favors,
and for the politicians to gain access to influential military and
police circles.

Three members of PMA Class 1976, which adopted
Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr., are running for
local positions under the same party.

Class 1976 president and
former NCR Police Office chief Leopoldo Bataoil is running for
representative of Pangasinan’s 2nd district; retired Marine commandant
Nelson Allaga is running for Congressman of Ifugao’s lone district; and
former PNP director for operations Silverio Alarcio Jr. is running for
mayor of Laoac, Pangasinan.

Mohammad Nur Askalani of Class 1977
is running for mayor of Lugus, Sulu under the Nacionalista Party’s
local ticket. Askalani’s class adopted Nacionalista Party presidential
bet Manuel Villar Jr.

Renato Aguda of Class 1979, meanwhile, is
running for mayor of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, under the Liberal Party.
The class adopted LP vice presidential candidate Sen. Manuel “Mar”
Roxas II.

Three members of Class 1978, which has President Arroyo as its honorary
member, however, chose not to run under Lakas.

Aside from Danilo Lim, Class ’78 members Darius Tuason and Leovic
Dioneda ran for local posts under different parties.

Tuason
(Nationalist People’s Coalition) is running for congressman of
Masbate’s 2nd District against Antonio Kho of Lakas. Dioneda is up for
re-election as Sorsogon City mayor under the Liberal Party.

Out of the barracks

Two
retired officials—Col. David Alimorong and former PNP task force
commander Eduardo Orpilla—filed their candidacy for president and
vice-president, respectively.

Alimorong sought to run as an
independent candidate this year, while Orpilla ran under the Philippine
Green Republican Party. Both did not make the Commission on Electuon’s
final cut.

Two PMAers are also nominees of party-lists this year.
One is Eliseo de la Paz of Anak Party-list, a “mistah” of Gilbert
Teodoro.

Another is Abante Tribung Makabansa’s Allen Capuyan, a
former officer of the armed forces intelligence service (ISAFP) who was
implicated in the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal that exposed alleged
vote-rigging in the 2004 elections to ensure that Arroyo won the
presidency.

Many more retired military and police officers are running for various
posts around the country.

Download “Ex-Soldiers,
Cops Running for Election in May 2010
"

Political
analysts and groups within the military and police have criticized how
a growing number of retired members are jumping into politics.

The
military, for instance, is constitutionally mandated to refrain from
participating in partisan politics, but the rule does not apply to
officers who have left the service.

“The ideal situation is for
the military to stay away from civilian work so we can strengthen our
civilian institutions,” Prof. Raymund Quilop told Newsbreak in 2007.

However,
political analyst Clarita Carlos suggested in previous interviews it is
impossible for the military (or police) to be insulated from politics.

“Empirical
data suggests there is no significant difference between a military
regime and a civilian regime in terms of governance,” she said. “They
have been developing agents in society. They are not apolitical.” 

Note: Original article can be found here.

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