Lacson: AFP men are loyal to the PH flag

Former Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Monday, January 9 said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is generally composed of professional officers and men whose loyalty to the flag and the Constitution is above and beyond their individual preferences.

Lacson, former chairman of the Senate national defense committee, issued the statement after the reported ‘destabilisation’ and the rumored ‘mass resignation’ of Department of National Defence (DND) officials ‘’turned out to be that - rumour.’’

The change of command ceremony at the military establishment last Saturday was dubbed as ‘’bizarre’’ because newly-designated AFP chief of staff General Andres Centino took over the command from from Lt. General Bartolome Bacarro who replaced him five months ago.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino ‘’Koko’’ Pimentel III sees ‘’no reason to cause low morale, as before AFP even had frequent changes in leadership what we called the “revolving door”.

Lacson said the Philippine National Police (PNP) already clarified last weekend the reason for its supposed heightened alert status - it was for another purpose, not related to any destabilization and the rumored "mass resignation" of DND officials.

He said that DND Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Jose Faustino Jr., Centino and newly retired Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, along with two or three DND undersecretaries, all belong to PMA Class 1988.

‘’Even among PMA batchmates, sometimes there are dynamics due to personal associations and loyalties that cannot be avoided,’’ he pointed out.

Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, is a PMA graduate himself.

‘’There is information though that OIC and Senior DND Undersecretary Faustino mentioned to some close associates as early as last month that he will resign if Lt. General Bacarro will be replaced. That could have probably triggered the rumored ‘mass resignation’ in the DND,’’ he added.

He said it was not a “surprise” move as most people, including many members of the AFP, had thought.

Lacson revealed that this was supposed to have been executed as early as November last year and newly retired AFP Chief of Staff Lt. General Bacarro was already made aware of the impending (re)appointment of Gen Centino ‘’but for some reason that I would rather not divulge, it was put on hold.’’