Col. Generoso Mariano says his statement was taken out of context
Marine Col. Generoso Mariano has no plans of retracting anything he said on video when he called on Filipinos to replace the government. The video, dated July 3, and a subject of investigation by the Philippine Navy, on YouTube.
Mariano said on Monday that everything he uttered on the video was true but was taken out of context.
He said the video was used in a manner that appeared to suggest mounting a destabilization move against the Aquino administration, something he claimed he knew nothing about.
Mariano said he saw nothing wrong with asking for change in government. “Our problem is that the real causes of why we are poor are not being discussed. Why are we not talking about the causes of our country’s problems?” he said in Filipino.
He said he merely suggested that there was a need to implement real changes in government.
On the video, Mariano said: “It is the duty, it is the right of every Filipino, including soldiers, to replace the government. I repeat, replace the government.”
Replacing the government per se is not against the Constitution.
He also spoke about the plight of ordinary soldiers, especially those in Mindanao, and about government inaction on rising prices of basic commodities and worsening poverty incidence.
Mariano is restricted to his quarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
He spoke to the Inquirer hours before he appeared before an investigating body headed by Philippine Marines Vice Commandant Eugene Clemen.
“OK, you can interview me before I keep mum on the issue. I don’t know my status now—retired or under investigation,” he said.
Mariano turned 56 on Sunday, the mandatory age for retirement in the military.
Did he upload the video on YouTube? He said he did not.
What were the circumstances behind the recording of the video?
Mariano said everything started at a forum he attended on June 24 at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan. The forum was organized by Solidarity for People’s Sovereignty (SPS), a group critical not only of the Aquino administration but also of the Arroyo administration.
‘It was a stormy day’
“It was San Juan Day and was stormy. I was invited to speak about my experiences in the military. Many attended the forum. Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. and Fr. Eliseo Mercado were in attendance,” he said.
He said his statement was not recorded when he first made it. “Then I was asked to do it again so it could be recorded on camera. I obliged. I had to write what I earlier said. There was no script. I only said what was in my heart, what was my opinion,” Mariano said.
Back in his car and on the way home, Mariano said he felt a little nervous. “I realized at the time that the video could be used for something bad. But then I thought that they just wanted to record it,” he said.
“Call me naive. But it happened and I’m now under investigation,” he said.
But as a military officer, wasn’t he aware that he was not supposed to issue political statements?
“I’m still a Filipino and I will confront this issue. But if they want to portray that I have conspirators and that I have plans to stage a coup or an uprising, I dare them to name my accomplices. If they insist that it’s a coup, they will realize that it’s a coup by one person,” he said.
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