AFP, PNP commands remain intact in Mindanao – officials
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The military and police here denied reports of internal cleansing and loyalty check among their ranks following President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure that a destabilization plot was being hatched against him.
Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, reiterated on Tuesday afternoon here that the 190,000-member strong police force stayed loyal “to the President, to the Constitution and to the Filipino people.”
“There is no such thing as loyalty check sa amin,” Albayalde said in a chance interview on Tuesday night inside Camp Abendan in Barangay Mercedes here. “We can assure the public, we can assure the Filipino people and we can assure even the President that we are behind the Constitution.”
Col. Gerry Besana, the public affairs officer of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), also said loyalty check was not yet in the command’s main agenda right now when they were facing threats from a number of armed groups in the region.
Besana made granted interview on Wednesday at the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting.
“We are focused on [our] mission here in the Western Mindanao Command, especially because confronting terrorist groups like Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF], the [remnants of the] Maute Group, Dawlah Al Islamiya and the Abu Sayyaf, remains in our hands,” he said. “So, it’s seldom [for us to] talk or think about this loyalty check.”
Besana said the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had earlier issued an appeal to remain “apolitical.”
“Our call was not necessarily [to] isolate ourselves from this issue, but we want to make sure that we remain apolitical,” he said. “We are facing lots of challenges at the WestMinCom.”
In Davao City, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) said government troops here have remained solid and loyal to the Constitution in light of the political issues that had embroiled the country, a military official said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, speaking for the EastMinCom, said: “The Eastern Mindanao Command is solid and undivided as an organization. We shall remain loyal to the Constitution and chain of command amidst the political turmoil.”
Balagtey said that, though some sectors had tried to drag the military into several political issues, they would remain “committed and focused” in their task.
“While we recognize that our officers and soldiers have their own view and opinion on any issues, rest assured that the Eastern Mindanao Command, and the whole AFP for that matter, remains solid, professional, and focused on our mission to secure our communities, facilitate the delivery of services to our people, and address threats to our peace and security,” he said.
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