MANILA, Philippines—“Suck it up and shut up.”
This was the advice that Sen. Gregorio Honasan would give police and military officials who grumble about being ignored by President Aquino who has a penchant for filling up the top security posts with officers who served in the Presidential Security Group during the presidency of his mother, the late Cory Aquino.
Honasan said there was no reason for some of his fellow graduates from the Philippine Military Academy to complain about being ignored or passed over for the juicier military and police posts.
“These posts are a position of trust and confidence and it is the President’s prerogative to appoint those he wants around him with just the basic requirement of competence and integrity,” the senator said in a phone interview.
Newly appoined police chief Alan Purisima is the third member of the first Cory-era PSG to lead this administration’s security team. The first two are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces Chief Jessie Dellosa. Another PSG officer during the Cory era, retired general Jose Honrado, now serves as general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority.
Honasan said that if any officer feels slighted by, or disagrees with, the President’s choices, he should take it up personally with the Chief Executive.
“Our President is the most approachable among all leaders we’ve had. There is practically no cordon sanitaire surrounding him and soldiers and officers with legitimate gripes talk to him,” said Honasan.
Honasan, who led a number of bloody coups d’etat against the Cory Aquino administration, said that “gone were the days” when young officers were burdened with fighting rebels on the ground and while their officers were busy waiting for their turn to be the next leader of the military due to seniority.
“I think there are still officers who act like `idealists and seguristas’ who turn a blind eye to military reforms to protect their way up to the top,” he said.
“At this point, anybody complaining about the President’s choices should just suck it up and live with the President’s choices. They have a duty to perform with no need for more distraction like whining and complaining,” said Honasan.