Wednesday, July 12, 2006

General Danilo Lim Statement / ‘The guns are locked and cocked


WE, THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (AFP) AND THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP), loyal to God and country and to our duty under the Constitution, do hereby make the following declarations:

A crisis of extreme proportions now confronts our people. The economy, the rule of law and the moral order lie in ruins. Political, judicial and economic power, as well as the power of the mass media, has been perverted to inflict and justify high crimes against the Filipino people. More and more among our people no longer eat, while the idle rich and the corrupt live like kings. Minority rule has replaced majority rule. The three branches of government are now in total disarray, the entire system has broken down, thanks to a President whose legitimacy is denied by the vast majority of our people.

Corruption has not only become a way of life among those in power. It has also become the most effective means of destroying our country and people. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has played a key role in promoting corruption to its present levels. In her mad desire for power, she has corrupted and destroyed all institutions. She has
promoted a policy of loot and plunder while hypocritically announcing a war against corruption.

She has corrupted the justices of the Supreme Court, the entire Commission on Elections, the mass media, some members of the military, the police and the clergy, and countless teachers who took part in counting the votes in the last elections. She is not only the most corrupt official of the country today but she is also its number
one corruptor.

We cannot stand idly by while the rule of law, the moral order, the integrity of our institutions, the very future of our country and people, and our own professional careers are destroyed by this bogus President. We cannot afford to do nothing while she and her cohorts turn our government into a criminal syndicate. We cannot
allow ourselves to be used as a tool of injustice and oppression. We must act, and we must act now.

Pursuant, therefore, to our constitutional duty as "protector of the people and the State," we have today withdrawn our support for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in order to end her unconstitutional and illegal occupation of the Presidency.

This we have done to restore the rule of law and public morality, the legitimacy and accountability of government, the integrity of our public institutions, the sanctity of the democratic process, and the trust and confidence of our people and the rest of
the world.

We call on all our comrades-in-arms to discharge their genuine responsibilities to our people with full dedication and fervor. We call on our people to support the men and women at the forefront of this undertaking. We call on Mrs. Arroyo to accept gracefully the formation of a new government.

As soldiers, we do not seek political power for ourselves. But we shall not allow anyone to use political power to commit crimes against our people or to pursue their own personal agenda, at the expense of the national interest. We shall maintain law and order, prevent any group from taking advantage of the situation, and protect
the innocent from all possible harm. We shall leave the actual business of governing the nation in the hands of professionally competent, morally upright, patriotic, trustworthy and self-sacrificing Filipinos whom we now invite to form a new

This may be our last chance correct our past mistakes. We cannot afford to fail. We must not fail.

We appeal to everyone to give this effort a chance to succeed. We appeal to all our people to unite and extend all the support and counsel which the new government will need from them. We pray to Almighty God to bless our efforts and keep us pure and strong in this hour of need.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

The guns are locked and cocked

‘The guns are locked and cocked. One itchy finger and the mayhem starts.’

The gloves are off. The military leadership has bundled off Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, alleged leader of a reported plot last February to withdraw military support from President Arroyo, to a "detention facility" (read that military stockade) in Tanay, Rizal. Enough of the courtesy of restricting the former commanding general of the Scout Rangers to quarters pending the filing of charges against him.

The hardliners in the military are now ascendant. Yesterday, Malacañang announced that Army chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon will succeed Gen. Generoso Senga who is retiring as AFP chief on July 21. Senga is now a lameduck. Any chance that Senga would reject a military panel’s recommendation to haul Lim before a court martial has now evaporated. The likelihood is Senga would leave the decision to his successor. And as we understand it, Esperon has long been after Lim’s head.

The Philippine Military Academy has its own ethos (Lim entered the US Military Academy after spending his plebe year at the PMA). Some might view Senga’s seeming kid-glove treatment of Lim as outright coddling. But by their honor code, Senga is bound to reciprocate Lim’s display of the highest respect to a superior when he disclosed and implicitly sought support for the plan to march unarmed but in full uniform to the Edsa Shrine.

Additionally, Senga may have pragmatic reasons for not immediately throwing the book at Lim. The restiveness in the military continues to simmer. A hastily convened court martial against Lim may provoke the mutiny the AFP leadership is seeking to avoid.

Last week’s roundup of most of the Magdalo officers who had escaped from detention appears to have given the AFP leadership the confidence to abandon its policy of leniency. The fact, however, is that there is no evidence tying Lim, whose support appears to come mostly from senior colonels and a few generals, to the Magdalo, which is composed mainly of junior officers.

The stabilizing presence of Senga will be missed in the days to become.

Interestingly, succeeding Esperon at the helm of the Army is Maj. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, chief of the Northern Luzon Command. Tolentino is a relative unknown. But the few times he has been on the news have been revealing. When it was reported that some fugitive Magdalo officers were making the rounds of military camps, Tolentino issued a curt and straightforward order, "Shoot them on sight."

The guns are locked and cocked. One itchy finger and the mayhem starts.

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