New NCR military chief another Arroyo classmate

New NCR military chief another Arroyo classmate
By Reynaldo Santos Jr

MANILA, Philippines—Many were skeptical when Gen. Delfin Bangit, upon his assumption as chief of staff of the Armed Forces, vowed to shield the military from being used in fraudulent acts in the elections.

Bangit, after all, is known to be loyal to President Arroyo. In 2004, several generals were implicated in a grand scheme to rig the elections in favor of Ms. Arroyo.

On Saturday, Bangit seemed out to prove that he’d keep his word that “only God can use me.” He placed Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue at the helm of the military’s National Capital Region Command (NCRCom), replacing Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, who had been promoted chief of the Philippine Army.

Bangit, Angue, and Mapagu belong to the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978, which counts President Arroyo as honorary member. The PNP’s Commander for NCR, Roberto Rosales, is also their classmate.

On May 11, 2004, Angue, then a Navy captain, was pulled out from his assignment as commander of Task Force 62 that controlled military troops in Tawi-Tawi on suspicion that he was aiding President Arroyo’s rival, Fernando Poe Jr.

It turned out, according to some concerned soldiers, Angue was in fact trying to frustrate the administration’s move to use the military in Tawi-Tawi to rig the votes.

Newsbreak reported in 2005 that Tawi-Tawi was the only province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao where Poe won (49,803 against Arroyo’s 33,634).

Former Tawi-Tawi Rep. Nur Jaafar had admitted to Newsbreak that he sought the removal of Angue at the time because the Navy captain was “fraternizing” with Gov. Sadikul Sahali, who was campaigning for Poe.

“He (Angue) was hostile to us, allowing our rivals to use military vehicles,” according to Jafaar, who lost.

A source close to Angue, however, told Newsbreak that he didn’t mind being pulled out because it was a choice between “taking a leave or taking part in the cheating.”

In an interview at the time, Angue denied that he was biased for the opposition. “What I made sure precisely was for the military not to be used,” he said.

In the wiretapped conversation that was uncovered a year later, the President asked Virgilio Garcillano about reports that the opposition was preparing an election complaint in Calanguyan, Tawi- Tawi.

Garcillano told her not to worry because, after all, “wala naman tayong ginawa doon (we didn’t do anything there).” They even lost there, he said.

Before heading the military’s NCR Com, Angue was assigned chief of staff of the Philippine Navy. He was with the rebel military group behind the coup attempts during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino in the 1980s. (Newsbreak)

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.