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Lacson reminds AFP to be apolitical after Facebook shutdown of accounts

/ 11:19 AM September 25, 2020
Lacson reminds AFP to be apolitical after Facebook shutdown of accounts

This file photo shows Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson during an inquiry at the Senate on August 11, 2020. File photo / Joseph Vidal / Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday reminded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be apolitical and not dip its fingers on political issues, stressing it should only be loyal to the chain of command.

Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on national defense, said this in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo following Facebook’s shutdown of over 100 fake accounts linked to the Philippine military and police that target activists and dissidents.

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“Karapatan talaga ng Facebook ‘yun. Kasi ang basic na argumento dito, ang AFP ay dapat apolitical. Huwag sila mag-express ng suporta maski kaninuman,” he said.

(It is really the right of Facebook. The basic argument here is the AFP should be apolitical. They should not express support to anyone else.)

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“Ang suporta lang nila [ay dapat] doon sa chain of command nila dahil commander-in-chief nila ang Presidente, pero kapag nakihalo na sila sa usaping politikal na walang kinalaman sa chain of command, medyo may problema tayo doon.”

(Their support should only be to the chain of command because their commander-in-chief is the President, but if they meddle with political issues that do not have anything to do with their chain of command, then that’s where we will have problems.)

“Kung anong nilalaman ng mga post nila sa Facebook, kung ito ay sumasang-ayon o sumusuporta sa posibleng kandidatura ng ilang personalidad, ‘yun ang masama kasi apolitical sila dapat, wala silang kinikilingan,” Lacson further said.

(The content of their Facebook posts, if this is about agreeing on or in support of the possible candidacy of a personality, that is not right because they should be apolitical and not side with anyone.)

Aside from the fake domestic accounts being linked to the military and police, Facebook also took down 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups, and six Instagram accounts traced to China that have been publishing criticisms of news site Rappler, support for President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara’s potential run in the 2022 presidential election, and Beijing’s interests in the West Philippine Sea and Hong Kong, among others.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay earlier asked Facebook to bring back the pages of what he described as “advocacy groups” that were taken down by the social media giant for supposed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

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TAGS: AFP, apolitical, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Facebook, Panfilo Lacson, Phil‎ippine National Police, PNP‎, Politics, Propaganda, Social Media
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