The Philippine Army (PA) has relieved of duties at least seven ranking ready-reserve officers who decided to run in the May 2022 elections “to ensure the organization’s non-partisanship.”
“[The] said relief of position does not relieve them of being in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army,” Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, told reporters Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Relieved from their posts were actor Capt. Robin Padilla, former chairperson of the Army’s Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board – Strategic Communications Committee (STRATCOMM-MSAB); actor-turned politician Brig. Gen. Herbert Bautista, former brigade commander of 1502nd Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade in the National Capital Region (1502 RRIBde); and Col. Isidro Ungab, former brigade commander of the 2002ndRRIBde in Davao City.
Also relieved were Lt. Col. John Tracy Cagas, former battalion commander of the 1101st Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion (RRIBn) in Davao del Sur; Lt. Col. Eugene Balitang, former battalion commander of the 1404th RRIBn in Ifugao; Lt. Col. Jayvee Tyron Uy, former battalion commander of the 1103rd RRIBn in Davao de Oro; and Lt. Col. Rhodora Cadiao, former commanding officer of the 602nd RRIBn in Antique.
According to the Army, both Padilla and Bautista are seeking Senate seats while Ungab is running for reelection as the representative of Davao City’s third district.
Cagas, on the other hand, will run as a representative of the lone district of Davao del Sur; Balitang will vie for a seat at the Lower House to represent the lone district of Ifugao; Uy is joining the Davao de Oro gubernatorial race; and Cadio is seeking reelection as Antique governor.
Meawnhile, Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and concurrent Army Commanding General, reiterated the Army’s non-partisanship in the coming polls which led to the relief of the military reservists.
“We assure the public that as a professional organization, the military will be non-partisan. We will perform our mandate of ensuring fair elections,” Centino said.
He also directed all Army units and personnel to “avoid engaging in partisan politics, maintain professionalism while performing their duties, and avoid posting photos or videos that express political gestures.”
Soldiers and other law enforcers are prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code to engage in any partisan political activity including campaigning for any candidate.