Ramon Montaño returns to Edsa I to fight his last battle

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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.

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • ConcernedCitizenPh

    Voting for Gen Montano is a better option than voting any of the re-electionists. We give ourselves a chance to have positive change in society which the re-electionists did not do anything when we gave them the opportunity.

  • jose_avila

    Pero tanda na sya. Dapat retired na yan. 27 years ago na yung Edsa.

  • Pio Pusli

    calling all morons, here’s the man who deserves better than Nancy Binay, Jackie Enrile and JV Estrada.

    • JosengSisiw1

      don’t call them morons please just call them uninformed voters.. so help them, inform them, educate them…

      • Cheryl Joy Estrada-Lumapas

        nice one bro……

  • farmerpo

    Montano’s purpose for running is commendable but at the same time formidable. This is a case where party list would have been a perfect way. Edsa86 as a party list name is a shoo in.
    As it is, no matter how good intentioned Montano is , he is up against an avalanche of money and political machinery that the others have.

    I hope against all odds,Montano wins.I will vote for him.

  • mariovill1950

    ..even with all of his good intentions,Mr. Ramon Montano is too old for the job.

    • Loggnat

      Somebody too old for the job is definitely better than ones who are too inexperience and/or too st+00p1d for the job, ie the trapos and most of the UNA candidates.

    • ApoLapullapu

      He is much younger than Enrile and Maceda.

  • linobog

    Montano?????? otro..

  • koaks2

    mabuhay ka general

  • klepto

    Another useless Trapo. This old meat is just plain useless.

  • victor casquejo

    Indeed,Gen Montano is a better candidate & very much competent.Let us vote for him,we deserve him than those popular yet insincere ones.

  • ravindrama

    pina-sama ko na si Gen Montano sa mga senador line up sa pamilya ko as Pinas. Sana magwagi si Gen Maontano at mapalitan ang tag niya ng Sen Montano. Mabuhay …. NO to DYSNASTY ….

  • Rolly257

    What Montaño did not say is his role during Marcos martial rule. He was loyal to Ramos, and must be to Marcos or even to Enrile as well.

    Soldiers and police allowed themselves being exploited by the politicians in exchange for something else…quid pro quo, sabi nga.

    Coup plotters should be condemned to long prison terms. The Constitution should be preserved and observed at all cost, especially by the military. Most of all, leave the governance to the civilian populace.

    We should get rid the Marcos legacy.

    • ApoLapullapu

      As a loyal soldier, he followed the Chain of Command but left when the abuses of the Marcos regime was too much.

  • kelly

    amoy lupa ka na………pahinga ka na lang sigurado manalo ka.

  • UrHONOR

    Papaano ba naman mananalo ang dkandidatong ito, e, kahit na sabihin pang mas mabuti kaysa kaninong na o anak ti trapo, e…. mukhang baldado na!

    • boybakal

      Hindi lang mukhang baldado pati isip ulyanin na.
      Akala buhay pa si Marcos kaya kakandidato.

      • UrHONOR

        OO nga….maaari pa sigurong i-habla ang mga nag-aalaga sa taong ito ng ABUSE of ELDERLY.

  • boybakal

    Nasaan kaya ang mga anak at apo nitong si Montano.
    Bakit pinababayaan pang kumandidato gayong ulyanin na.
    Tapos na ang kanyang papel sa mundo dapat pahinga na lang.

    Respect the elder…..don’t let them work.

  • hustlergalore

    hay naku, ang mga self-absorbed PMAers. LOL

  • boybakal

    As far as I know, senior citizens in the US and other countries are already in the retirement or nursing home.
    Baka nga naman kung ano pa ang gawin gayong wala na sa panahon.

  • $14334231

    enrile is 89 years old and still corrupting our country (with a chance of a continuance thru his son, jack-en-poy). this general is 76. i like his noble intentions and ideas, but should he win, hoping against all odds that he can change the system which the sitting senators are just sitting on it idly….he can be a david clashing with the goliaths in the senate. i wish you well, and hopefully, this one vote will help you on your way to the road of victory…. and i will join the march to congress (if there is one) to have our voices heard by these corrupt politicians……good luck, sir!…..

  • TinimbangNgunitKulang

    For his last hurrah, it would be easier for the General to bring down Enrile by exposing his sins rather than his quizotic dream of reforming the country. The former is possible, the latter is a pipedream. And the people will be forever grateful to him.

  • Natx Bacalzo

    gen montano should be credited for helping the economy with his campaign expenses. As for his life’s accomplishments, they ought to be spit on.

    After the may 2013 election, he is best remembered as a marcos wardog that terrorized Filipinos during martial law. And the freak has the gall to run for senate.

  • $26606290

    Magpahinga na lang po kayo. Di nga kayo ganun katunog nung 1986, ngayon pa?
    Kumusta na si Eddie Gil?

  • rouelcalzita

    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.

    Why noo…kie people entering into politics used to practice of treating something
    about EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986?

    In almost all studies of Asian economic growth, the Philippines is cited
    as the great exception to Southeast Asian growth “miracles.” Despite sharing
    similar macroeconomic fundamentals with neighboring countries, the Philippines have
    been gone right out of rapid growth occurring in the region since the 1970s.

  • BIGButo

    Other than his age he cant be any worse than some of the senators we have now.

  • ApoLapullapu

    Especially to the voters of the Visayas, Mindanao and Sulu, former members of the AFP and the Police and Senior Citizens, Ramon Montaño is our man. He understands the aspirations of the Tausug and the whole of Bangsamoro.

  • ApoLapullapu

    One thing I like with Ramon Montaño is he is for the Freedom of Information Bill. He also supports amendments of the Constitution to make it more suited to the hopes and aspirations of the Filipino including the marginalized sectors of society.

  • rlo

    One must also understand that most of our enlisted personnel come from the backgrounds of poverty. Hence this susceptibility. But a lot has improved ever since however there still remains many delinquents in officers uniform. Hopefully it will be bred out of the system in a few years.

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