PNP to remain apolitical
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday it would remain apolitical despite reports that some members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ‘77 met with Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III.
“We are preparing and working to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections as ordered by PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa,” said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina.
Aquino confirmed that he had met with members of PMA Class ‘77 that adopted Aquino’s closest rival Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.
But Espina said he and Verzosa are not aware of the reported meeting between Aquino and members of PMA Class ‘77.
A source, however, said not all members of the class, particularly those in the PNP, joined the meeting as there are only seven members of PMA Class ‘77 who are regional directors and directorate for integrated police operations.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied allegations that Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales had ordered troops to prepare for a military takeover in the event of failure of elections.
AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said they have not received such order since they never thought of such scenario.
The PMA Class ’77 also denied allegations that its members secretly met with Aquino.
Class ’77 president Navy Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez said such meeting was unlikely since they are non-partisan and are loyal to the military leadership.
But Aquino said he had met with members of the military concerned with possible failure of elections.
He said military officials assured him that they would not be part of any scheme to derail the upcoming elections.
Aquino disclosed in an ambush interview that those he met were from various PMA classes, both active and retired, and not particularly those disgruntled with the appointment of Bangit as AFP chief of staff.
“I take it in the context that they are part of the public that I serve. And they are more constrained in voicing their opinions. Therefore, I gave them an ear that was sympathetic to their concerns, to give them the idea their concerns are being addressed. Other than that, there was nothing more that we talked about,” Aquino said.
He explained that the military officials were only concerned with the failure of elections and the role they would play in case of failure of elections. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero, Aurea Calica