Quantcast
Latest Stories

Ramon Montaño returns to Edsa I to fight his last battle

By

THE GENERAL’S LAST HURRAH Montaño offers to represent the men in uniform “exploited by politicians to keep themselves in power.” INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

A bystander, seeing the candidate wearing a yellow campaign vest at a provincial campaign sortie, remarked: “There goes one of the members of the Cory troops against the coup d’etat.”

True enough, retired Maj. Gen. Ramon Montaño made his mark during the critical years of the Corazon Aquino administration when the fledgling post-Edsa administration faced challenges on all sides, but particularly from a restive and coup-prone military.

“This is the last battle of my life,” said the 76-year-old former chief of the defunct Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP, now the Philippine National Police) of his Senate candidacy.

He does not care to count the first time he ran in 2004 with the eccentric Eddie Gil. (Montaño withdrew his candidacy.)

Montaño said his decision to run now was spurred by frustration at where the country is standing since the first Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986.

“Many, many decades later, the aging participants of that (Edsa) People Power  Revolution for true reforms and for people empowerment are witnessing its utter failure … and the dream of Edsa ’86 remains a dream,” Montaño said in a statement titled “The Last Hurrah” which he released when he filed his candidacy papers last December.

“It is in pursuit of this dream forged at Edsa in 1986 for all to travel the straight [and] narrow path for reforms, for justice, for honor that impelled me to try to join the Senate in 2013,” he said.

Montaño, who is seeking to represent the soldiers and policemen who are “exploited by political leaders to perpetuate themselves in power,” has so far campaigned mainly among fellow military and police retirees.

Extended family campaign

However, his campaign has found itself unexpectedly galvanized by a relatively extensive family network across the country.

Despite the short notice and inexperience at running a national campaign, his relatives have been quick to close ranks to help their “Tito Gen(eral).”

In the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras, family reunions are, for the first time, being organized just for Montaño.

“He ignited it, he opened this opportunity for the Montaño clan. In a very short period of time, we have organized. If only we had a longer time to organize,” said Manuel Montaño of San Miguel, Iloilo.

Jocelyn Montaño-de los Reyes, who runs a gardening business in Iloilo City, found herself the overall coordinator for the entire island of Panay.

“I’m not involved in politics. I don’t have experience in this. But I saw there’s no one else to coordinate from Iloilo, so here I am,” she told the Inquirer during the candidate’s campaign swing through Iloilo, Guimaras and Antique last April 1.

On April 1, Montaño and his Iloilo campaign team crossed to Guimaras for a first-ever clan reunion in the island-province hosted by four of eight Montaño sisters based there.

“It’s an honor to be with my family. We are just one family, we stay together, we pray together. They say in Guimaras, our family is influential. So let’s work, work hard,” said Montaño who spoke in Hiligaynon.

Military and police retirees

From Guimaras, the group crossed the sea again to San Jose, Antique, to meet with a group of military and police retirees who once served under Montaño’s command.

“Most of you have served under me. I don’t have to sell myself. You have served under me. You know how I treat my soldiers. When we come out of the battlefield, we come out together. We don’t leave anyone behind,” Montaño told his audience before going into some of their past exploits.

He said it was disheartening to see that law enforcers are no longer respected. “So my advocacy is to return the glory of the constable, to return the respect to the police,” he said.

“He’s very good, very strict but right. That’s how I learned from him. He shares what he knows,” said retired Lt. Col. Heracleo Severino, the provincial president of the Police Retirees Association Inc., a constable second class when Montaño was captain back in 1969.

Retired police officer Marcelo Cenol Sr., president of the Philippine Constables Association Inc. provincial chapter, with about 137 members in Antique, said he can vouch for Montaño.

“We know he is clean. What is for Juan is for Juan. We know him. We served together in the PC,” Cenol said.

Born in 1937 in Cebu City where he grew up, Montaño traces his roots to Iloilo. His great grandfather and ancestor, Tiburcio Montaño (“Kapitan Tibor”) was one of two sons of a friar in San Miguel, Iloilo, in the mid-19th century.

The Montaños have dispersed to different parts of the country.

According to Montaño, the mother of the Abu Sayyaf founding leaders, Abdurajak and Khadafi Janjalani, is a Montaño, one of the 12 children of Tiburcio. Family lore has it that one of the children went to Jolo and married a Tausug princess.

Montaño entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1954, nine years after the end of World War II.

A member of PMA Class 1958 (the youngest in his class), Montaño was an intelligence officer when martial law was declared in 1972.

During the 1986 Edsa Revolution, Montaño was on the side of the anti-Marcos forces led by then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and then Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos.

 

Against the putschists

He headed the PC Capital Command/Metropolitan Police Force (CapCom/MPF) when the Aquino government came under attack from rebel soldiers led by then Lt. Col. Gregorio Honasan.

“[He] rallied and consolidated the entire command to remain loyal to the new Constitution and the flag after Edsa. He led the CapCom/MPF in a bloodless confrontation against the destabilization forces of the Marcos loyalists, the violent Left and the ultra-rightist rebel soldiers which resulted in the peaceful resolution of the Manila Hotel incident and the “‘God Save the Queen’-attempted coup,” his resume reads.

Recalling those dangerous times, Montaño said they were “walking a very tight tightrope.”

“On the one hand, the likes of Joker (Arroyo) and Teddyboy (Locsin) were denouncing us for being remnants of the Marcos fascist regime. On the other hand, the officers and soldiers were angry at perceived communists in the Cabinet, against corruption,” he said in an interview.

“The irony was, it was a bloodless revolution, but after that, it was bloody. And for what? Why did they do it? It was greed, lust for power,” he said.

In 1991, Montaño became an undersecretary at the Department of the Interior and Local Government which oversaw the transition of the PC-INP to the Philippine National Police.

When Ramos became president, Montaño served as a presidential adviser for political affairs.

Implicated in coup attempts

During the Arroyo administration, Montaño was implicated in destabilization attempts, beginning with the so-called Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and in the attempted coup in 2005 in the wake of the “Hello Garci” election cheating scandal.

Montaño said he is now writing his memoirs, in collaboration with Ramos.

“I know it all, how the polarity of the military started,” he said.

Such are his recollections of that era that when someone introduced himself in San Jose, Antique, Montaño asked if he was related to a certain contractor from Cebu with the same name, going on to relate a story of how the contractor was edged out of his own project during the Marcos regime.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 2013 elections , Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police , Philippine Senate , Ramon Montaño




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Aquino to lead Air Force turnover rites
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement