AFP general involved in Red-tagging of UP alumni goes on leave
MANILA, Philippines — Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations (J7), went on leave pending an investigation on his office’s publication of an erroneous list of communist rebels from the University of the Philippines (UP).
“In the light of [these] developments, I will go on leave of absence so as not to influence the ongoing investigation,” he said in a statement late Thursday.
“I personally take responsibility (for) their (staff) actions. This is the reason why I issued a public apology and reiterated it in my succeeding interviews,” he said.
Last week, the AFP Information Exchange, posted on its social media pages a list of alleged UP graduates who were killed or captured in military operations. Arevalo, whose unit handles the social media accounts, earlier apologized for the blunder.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday sacked Maj. Gen. Alex Luna, the deputy chief of staff of intelligence (J2), whose unit was the source of the list.
“His negligence only shows a lackadaisical attitude toward his job resulting [in] confusion and damage to reputation,” he said.
Outgoing AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay ordered an investigation last January 25 “to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.” The investigation will continue despite Luna’s relief.
The erroneous list further heightened tension over the decision of the Department of National Defense to terminate the agreement with UP, which was signed in 1989 and designed to prevent police or military from targeting student or teacher activists for their political beliefs, and the issue of supposed Red-tagging of activists.
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