Año: Alvarez's call a mockery of AFP, PNP integrity, professionalism

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 17, 2024, 3:01 pm Updated on April 17, 2024, 6:56 pm

<p>National Security Adviser Eduardo Año <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez underestimated the professionalism and integrity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) when he urged them to withdraw their support from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año said Wednesday.

"Both institutions are loyal to the Constitution, the rule of law, the chain of command, and the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Insinuations to the contrary are baseless and unfounded," Año said in a statement.

Año, a retired military chief, said such a move when done by a public official, more so a high-ranking military reservist, is not only irresponsible but also illegal and unconstitutional.

"It erodes the very foundation of our democratic institutions and undermines the supremacy of civilian authority over the military. Such utterances and actions can be construed as seditious or rebellious and they have no place in our society," he added.

He said the armed forces in a democratic country such as the Philippines are neutral and apolitical and are focused on serving the nation's interests.

"Rep. Alvarez, and others who may be similarly inclined, should not drag such respected institutions to serve their partisan agenda or self-interest, even if such calls are made, as he claimed, in a fit of emotion," the NSA pointed out.

Año also called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to thoroughly review this matter and consider appropriate legal actions against Alvarez and other similar individuals.

"His words and deeds are a disservice to our men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily to safeguard our nation's security, defend us from all manner of threats, and uphold the Constitution," he stressed.

The Philippine Navy has already asked Alvarez, a Marine reservist with the rank of colonel, to explain his statements.

Excuse to avoid prosecution

Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said Alvarez's claim that his "seditious" remarks are protected by free speech is simply an excuse to avoid prosecution.

Romualdo said Alvarez should face the consequences for urging the military and the police to withdraw their support for President Marcos.

“Huwag na po tayong magpalusot (Let's stop making excuses). The former speaker very well knows that free speech is not absolute. One cannot make a seditious call or a libelous statement without facing the consequences,” Romualdo said.

Romualdo welcomed the decision of DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to investigate whether Alvarez’s statements could be interpreted as seditious or rebellious, noting that it would not be difficult for the agency to evaluate them given the available evidence.

He also suggested that the DOJ should now issue a show-cause order to Alvarez.

Romualdo, meanwhile, lauded the military for respecting and following the chain of command and ignoring Alvarez's call. (with a report from Filane Cervantes/PNA)