Eliseo de la Paz

Not 1, but 4 ‘euro generals’ seeking office

Not 1, but 4 ‘euro generals’ seeking office
By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Not one but four “euro generals” have thrown their hats into the political ring.

Undaunted by the scandal triggered by their being held at the Moscow International Airport on Oct. 11, 2008, for having P6.9 million worth of euros in their possession, the retired police officials are seeking elective posts in May.

They are Silverio Alarcio, Jaime Caringal, Ismael Rafanan and Eliseo de la Paz, the then comptroller of the Philippine National Police who was caught by Moscow customs authorities carrying the money, and who was reported early this month to be seeking a seat in the House as a party-list representative.

De la Paz, Alarcio and Caringal belong to Philippine Military Academy Class of 1976, which has adopted administration standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro as its “mistah” (classmate).

Rafanan, who retired with the rank of PNP deputy director general, is a member of PMA Class 1975.

Wannabe mayors

Alarcio, Caringal and Rafanan are running for mayor of Villasis in Pangasinan, Cabuyao in Laguna, and Laoac in Pangasinan, respectively.

De la Paz is the second nominee of the party-list group Angat Ating Kabuhayan Pilipinas Inc., or Anak.

His group, composed mainly of active and retired policemen, claims to represent poor communities, law enforcers and persons with disabilities.

Leopoldo Bataoil, the retired chief of the National Capital Region Police Office who also belongs to PMA Class 1976, defended the decision of his “mistahs” to join politics.

Himself in the running for representative of Pangasinan’s first congressional district, Bataoil said the experience and skills of former police and military officers would “make us good public servants.”

“We have been immersed in the realities on the ground. We believe we are capable of leading the government responsibly,” he said on the phone.

Leading ‘by heart’

“Our courage … leadership and management at all levels are something we can be proud of. We lead by heart,” Bataoil said.

He said the leadership exemplified by former military and police officials who had become lawmakers, such as Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, was proof of their capability to be effective political leaders.

Biazon is a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Asked about the possible effect of the “euro generals” scandal on the candidacy of Dela Paz et al., Bataoil said: “They are innocent until proven guilty. They have positive qualities to become good leaders.

“I can’t help but be emotional about the allegations against them. They risked their lives, especially during the critical days of the republic. They have their own share of heroism in preserving our democracy.”