Kiko welcomes AFP apology over list

Published January 25, 2021, 3:04 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Opposition Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan welcomed Monday the apology of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over an erroneous list of University of the Philippines (UP) students-allegedly-turned New People’s Army (NPA) published in an AFP-affiliated social media page.

Senator Francis Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

This mistake is a growing sign of unprofessionalism and politicking in the AFP, Pangilinan said.

“Dapat natin tandaan na ang politicized at unprofessional Armed Forces noong panahon ni Marcos ang syang naging dahilan ng disunity at coup plots nung dekada 80 at 90. Tinatanggap natin ang apology subalit dapat seryusuhin ng liderato ng AFP na walang puwang ang unprofessionalism at incompetence sa ating AFP,” said Pangilinan, former UP University Student Council chairman and first voting Student Regent. 

(We should remember that a politicized and unprofessional Armed Forces during the Marcos administration caused disunity and coup plots during the 80s and 90s. We accept the apology but the AFP leadership must give assurance that there is no room for unprofessionalism and incompetence in our AFP)

“Buti naman at nakita nila na hindi tama ang paglalabas ng ganoong mga pangalan lalo pa at hindi totoo at walang basehan. We welcome the apology. However, we reiterate that the AFP should ensure adherence to the strictest tenets of professionalism. Dapat may managot sa mga kapabayaang tulad nito,” he added. 

(It is good that they spotted that it is not right to publish the names particularly when it is not true and has no basis. The bad eggs must be punished)

The AFP Civil-Military Operations Office last Sunday apologized for “inconsistencies” in the list of students who allegedly joined the NPA published in the Facebook page Armed Forces of the Philippines Information Exchange.

According to a fact check by Rappler, at least 12 Facebook pages with links to the military shared the list last Thursday. The list was titled, “Some of the UP students who became NPA (died or captured).”

However, contrary to the content of the list, at least eight people whose names were mentioned are alive and have neither been captured nor proven to be members of the NPA.

“This is unprofessional behavior, and politicized men in uniform should never be tolerated. Apology is one thing, but taking action is another. If this goes unpunished, kung walang managot dito, posibleng mangyari lang ito uli. Paulit-ulit na lang. Bad eggs should never be left unpunished,” Pangilinan said. 

(If those responsible are not punished, this kind of incident will recur)
Pangilinan said this is not the first time the AFP published unvetted lists of alleged NPA on social media.

Last week, a list of UP alumni allegedly recruited by the NPA was also posted by the same Facebook page.

A lawyer whose name was included in the list, sought an apology from the AFP, which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana concurred Sunday.

Pangilinan earlier released a statement saying that lies about UP “communists” undermine military professionalism.