Ex-DND chief: Only GMA loyalists in AFP will support power grab
by Lynda Jumilla
MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s former defense chief said on Thursday that except for a small group of loyal senior generals, he is convinced that the rest of the military officers and men will not support any attempt to keep Mrs. Arroyo in power beyond June 30.
Lawyer Avelino Cruz, who was deep in the heart of the Arroyo administration from 2004 to 2006 but is now with the Aquino-Roxas camp, said that there are signs all over the place of a possible attempt to extend Mrs. Arroyo’s term in office.
“Ako, nakaka sigurado ako na a great bulk of the senior generals, the middle officers, they will follow the Constitution, kasi mga professionals itong mga ito. Except yung small group na ang kanilang career ay nakataya kay President Arroyo,” Cruz said.
Cruz declined to identify the loyal senior generals who would likely support moves to keep President Arroyo in power beyond her term.
But Cruz cited the recent appointment of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Delfin Bangit, who used to head the Presidential Security Group (PSG), as well as the insistence of Malacañang that the President appoint the next Chief Justice despite the appointments ban during the election period, as indications of a “Gloria forever scenario.”
“Why would you insist on appointing a chief justice, in clear violation of the onstitutional ban, and now, you appoint a chief of staff, also within the constitutional ban, who has served as your security chief for a long, long time and who’s very loyal to you,” he said.
Cruz reiterated his call on the military as well as the police to reject any illegal orders from the commander-in-chief or the chief of staff, and instead work with the people to keep the May 10 elections clean.
And if he spent 2 years as the President’s alter ego in the Department of National Defense (DND), Cruz, together with his law partners, spent an even longer time lawyering for the President and the First Gentleman.
Hence, this unsolicited and free legal advice to his former client: “Pagisipan na niya na ilipat niya ang kanyang kapangyarihan doon sa mananalo sa May 10, 2010 elections, tapos harapin na lang niya kung anuman yung darating sa tadhana. Ganyan ang buhay e.”
Cruz warned any attempt to extend the President’s term would not only be illegal, it would be rejected by the people.