Poll bets warned: Do not politicize PMA homecoming
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Friday asked candidates in the 2019 polls who would attend this year’s alumni homecoming to refrain from politicizing the event as a sign of respect to the PMA’s independence.
PMA Information Officer Lt. Col. Harry Baliaga Jr. said that while they cannot penalize people who would try to use the event to gain political mileage for the upcoming elections, they are pleading to candidates to respect the activity.
“Wala na tayong control don, ang magagawa lang natin ay paki-usapan natin sila (We don’t have any control over that, but we can do is make an appeal),” Baliaga told reporters inside the PMA Campus in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City.
He clarified though that PMA alumni running for elective posts are still welcome provided they follow the rules set by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI).
“Ang mga alumni na tumatakbo ay welcome pa rin naman po sila provided they should not create activities na political in nature (PMA alumni running for elective posts are welcome provided they do not engage in activities that are political in nature),” Baliaga said.
‘Yong mga honorary, associate members, welcome din po sila alumni homecoming natin ngayon, ‘yon nga lang, ‘don lang sila sa designated na seat sa kanila sa grandstand. Hindi po sila pwedeng mag-join sa parade,” he explained.
(Honorary and associate members are also welcome to join the homecoming, but they need to stay in their designated seats at the grandstand. They cannot join the parade.)
According to Baliaga, honorary members were previously allowed to join the parade, but the election season was a consideration for the authorities. So the PMAAAI will strictly enforce the policy that they stay in their designated seats.
Both Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal and PMAAAI chairperson Jaime delos Santos gave assurances that the PMA reunion would not be a political event, and will remain ‘very solemn.’
For this year’s elections, two former PMA cadets — former police and corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano — are gunning for Senate seats. Dela Rosa is under the administration’s ticket while Alejano is running under the Otso Diretso coalition. /ee
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