AFP public affairs chief keeps his post, stays away from social media – military
MANILA, Philippines – The beleaguered military public affairs chief, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, will get to keep his job after all.
The Armed Forces spokesperson, Col. Restituto Padilla, Jr., said on Thursday that Cabunoc has not been relieved contrary to media reports, including a story that came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday.
“He’s staying,” Padilla said in an interview. “There’s no truth to reports that Lt. Col. Cabunoc has been relieved of the post. He continues to do the job in the same capacity.”
However, Padilla said Cabunoc himself had said he would “restrain himself from taking part in social media.”
Well-placed sources from the military had told the Inquirer that Cabunoc was on his way out as the chief of the public affairs office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He was either to return to the Army to head another unit, or go on a study leave abroad starting January.
They maintained that their information was correct but Cabunoc himself texted the Inquirer on Thursday, saying this reporter’s sources were “misinformed.”
Cabunoc became controversial after he engaged netizens in a social media debate over several issues involving the military, particularly the one where the AFP was criticized for appearing to have sided with US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton when the family of his victim, transgender woman Jeffrey Jennifer Laude, stormed the AFP compound to get to where the American serviceman was being detained.
But even before that, he raised eyebrows after he limited the media and the public’s access to the AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO). The AFP PAO is the most open among all military offices owing to the fact that it serves information disseminated to the public.
Coming under attack from netizens, Cabunoc and even AFP Chief of staff Gregorio Pio Catapang became the subject of memes that made fun of their pronouncements and actions.
Cabunoc had asked for an investigation into the dissemination of the memes, suspecting that military officers themselves created these memes.
Padilla assured the public that the investigation would not cover civilians
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