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Oct 03

On officers

My column for today is To Our Officer Corps. I think it speaks for itself. Just as the words of Gen. Vicente Lim in his letters to his children, first published for public consumption in the early 1980s (and I believe, recently republished by the AFP), continue to resonate among those who read them (I have been quoting him ever since I was a columnist for Today newspaper).

In a letter dated July 16, 1940, Gen. Vicente Lim made his political views, based on his military perspective, clear. He wrote, “The principal defect of our national defense is not the training or lack of finances, but the great and dangerous defect of democracy which has been implanted into the minds of the Filipino people. We have a nationally wrong conception of democracy. Our democracy in the Philippines is unilateral. It is only for the benefit, for the freedom, for the rights, comfort and happiness of each individual member of the nation. That is the common belief, and I venture to say 99.9% of our people beleive in that kind of democracy. They do not know their obligations, their duties, and the sacrifices that they should give to the state which is the relative counterpart of the amount of personal democracy he should indulge. The two should balance. We do not have yet in the minds of our people the thought that in order to enjoy the spirit of democracy they should give their lives and property to the state…” Two days later he would write (in another letter) “I would rather work in a Philippines half-way being totalitarian than on complete democracy which is misinterpreted by 99% of our people.”

This view continues to be widely-held today; there commentators in this blog who echo Lim’s sentiments. But to focus on the statements I quoted above is to ignore the fundamental view held by one of the most professional soldiers this country has ever produced: the purpose of the Army is to fight, not train civilians to be better citizens; the preoccupation of the officer corps should be professionalization, the curbing of institutional abuses, the cleansing of the military’s own ranks. The rest are political matters that are the jobs of civilians. Apparently I’m not as clever as I sometimes think I am. Pundit Manuel Buencamino said as much way back in 2003.

Tee hee hee of the Day department: Probe plot vs Arroyo, Gonzalez tells NBI. As I was writing this, friends start texting, telling me to turn on ANC. Someone said she was having a nervous breakdown on air. Others said she vowed to shoot herself in the head if she’s proven wrong. Uh. Ok. Sorry I missed it (the interview or whatever it was).

Tempest in a teapot department: The students of the UP College of Law are upset at the Inquirer over two things, a news story and an editorial about (ex) Dean Raul Pangalanan and the new Dean. The Inquirer editorial makes reference to a PCIJ blog entry, which itself has a counter-opinion from someone, I suppose, from UP, and of course there’s Pangalanan’s own explanation.

In the punditocracy, Fr. Joaquin Bernas has the last word on the concept of Executive Privilege: “There is neither wisdom nor legitimacy in burning a house to roast a piglet.” I finally discovered that Action for Economic Reforms has its commentaries, which appear in various papers, online. Read some of the more recent works of their chief thorn in the administration’s side (and posterior), Manuel Buencamino: Which God is She Praying To and also I Was Not Sorry Pala.

In the blogosphere, Expectorants merrily points to this blog, which defends the didactic nature of the Filipino novel: an assertation of theMarxist reason for being of literature. Check Leon Kilat for his series of interviews of bloggers and their views on blogging. Cyberbaguioboy has been writing (and gaining notice) for his coverage of the first case of computer hacking resulting in a quasi-conviction in the Philippines (lawyer JJ Disini has his take on the matter). Philippine Politics 04 points to a suicide bombing at the University of Oklahoma. Madame Chiang is unamused by the Filipino penchant for being unpunctual.

And let’s all welcome Positive Actions, a regular commenter and reader here, until he got sick of all that’s going and decided he would only concentrate on positive things.

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  1. a de brux

    After reading your article and those by other columnists, I am all the more persuaded that BGen Gudani and LtCol Balutan should be commended for what they have done.

    In an effort to support their stand, I would like to suggest that should re-group and re-focus their line of attack. This would enable us to support BGen Gudani and LtCol Balutan more efficiently.

    A change in tactical maneuver – sort of an attack through the middle of the enemy front line – may help throw Gloria and her cabal of military and civilian conspirators off-balance.

    You see, there was and still is a conspiracy to conceal election fraud, which is a crime. Those in the military who agreed tacitly or not to conceal the fact that there was an ongoing fraud during the 2004 presidential elections may be found guilty of conspiring to conceal a crime. This particular provision is contained in the Articles of War. The civilians who agreed tacitly or not to conceal the same fraudulent act should be found guilty of conspiring to conceal an election fraud with the military or vice-versa.

    Knowing that, I suggest that BGen. Gudani and LtColonel Balutan should raise a counter charge illico against all those people they’ve named at the Senate hearing for CONSPIRACY TO CONCEAL A CRIME.

    When a group of journalists, Lito Banayo, N Cacho-Olivarez, Herman Tiu Laurel, Ducky Paredes and the Malaya Newspaper chief were about to file a lawsuit against the cabal of generals led by then AFP Chief Angie Reyes for coup-d’étât against their Commander-in-Chief Estrada, I wrote to Herman Tiu Laurel and spoke to him at length that the charges of committing a coup d’étât wouldn’t stick. I specifically told him that the charges that they must level against those generals should be MUTINY. Legally, in both military and civilian courts, they would stand a better chance of being heard because the act that they committed and the circumstances prevailing during the commission of this military crime did not constitute a coup d’étât but that of mutiny as described specifically in the Articles of war. Herman said he would raise the issue with his friends but nfortunately, did not prevail because the lawyers had already submitted the charges – We know what happened afterwards – the charge was booted out for lack of legal merit.

    In the same manner, tactically, Gudani and Balutan stand better chances of being heard by our kangaroo civilian courts and their monkey military courts if they turn around and file counter charges against civilian and military authorities for CONSPIRACY TO CONCEAL A CRIME or CONSPIRACY TO CONCEAL ELECTION FRAUD or BOTH.

    Their lawyers should know how to formulate the charges more appropriately but must invoke this particular provision contained in the Articles of War. This should provide Gudani and Balutan with a counter legal leg to stand on while a the same time throwing a monkey wrench at the whole court martial proceedings.

  2. jay ermitano


    its been awhile since my last comment (tagal na pala nun – as if it matters hahaha)…by the way kuya manolo para atang lalong humirap mag-post ng komento dito ah (i think to make the posts more secure or something like that)…

    concerning the current issues …nakakasawa na kasi wala namang nagyayari (or so i think)…well tama nga yung sinabi ni post-GEN LIM…too much freedom without that responsiblity isnt freedom at all but just another excuse for anarchy atop…

    post script…
    i hope the administration would gag their mouth pertaining to matters that concern the “true” masa…lagi kasi nilang sinasabi na naaapektuhan ng mga “malalayang pahayag” (rally etc) ang nakararami na para bang alam na alam nila ang sentimiyento ng taumbayan…tsk tsk…that day will come…

  3. absolut_vanill2000

    The recent “explosive revelations” by Miriam sometimes make me want to believe the Ramos propaganda in the 92 elections that she drank on her piss and was institutionalized.

  4. joselu

    Fr. Bernas is a wise man & I take my hat off to him. he is also not the the SC.
    Lets listen to what the over-worked SC has to say.
    Those in Goverment who really want to blow the wistle can always resign.
    I think it’s better not o make it so easy to say just anything in this way we can also filter the fools from the real people.

  5. Ed

    Gudani is cool in my book. Made me wonder the reason why he said they cant kill me.

    shameless plug – http://www.talkphilippines.com – a forum for your philippine itch

  6. Alex

    I want to hammer on what should be the obvious. The military is not some fourth branch of government. Every soldier must realize that their foremost duty is to obey civilian authority. The brass answers to civilian officials, the highest of whom is the president, who’s also commander-in-chief.

    Alas, in our country the reality is somewhat different. Nation-making has so far been a failure. Outside of the family itself, the church and the military are the entities that count, not the national government. Why? Both the church and military provide purpose to their members and their members in turn are loyal and ready to offer self-sacrifice to preserve and advance their institutions. But the citizenry does not have the same regard to the national government. Hence, politicians must always kowtow to the church and ingratiate themselves to the military to gain sway over the people. Our failure in nation-making is the gain of the church and the military.

  7. joselu

    Alex, I guess our problems boil down by our lack of professionalissim.We don’t do things always because of belief & convictions.
    At times it’s more have because we see life as a 15/30, a job & income.s
    Since sadly the feeling of not being properly compensated is proportional to ones commitment.
    If Nation-building has failed, maybe it has also been because of our attitudes toward goverment.
    Goverment is the largest employeer.
    Maybe we have always looked as Goverment as someone we can “get from” & grudegingly “give to” in form of taxes.
    Our first instincts are always, how can we pay less taxes, how can we get around certain laws.But in general our first instints are always about “ourselves” first.It’s an everyday occurence shown by the garbage in the street and the anarchy in traffic.
    The military can only be just as professional in proportion as our Institutions act responsibly.
    All things considered our military has gone a long way from the marcos years although there is still much to do.
    I think it’s impossible that there will never be partisan people w/in the military.
    But the problem really is more because of “utang na loon” culture.
    Because just as many times we use “lang” in describing our skill we also undervalue ourselves & leave an opening for others to exploit our weakness.
    or family system is something nice because it gives us strenght but at times it bonds us together that we would defend each other rightly or wrongly because there is the family reputation to protect etc..
    Agian another actions that leaves outs goverment because in a way we form our own republics.That explain the feudalisim that exsist outside of metro manila.
    It is our culture that has never worked to have strong institutions.
    And in these days it is coming to a head

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