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Aquino takes swipe at martial law, BBL critics in PMA grad

PRESIDENT TELLS MILITARY: STAY NEUTRAL IN POLITICS
/ 03:47 PM March 13, 2016
THE SWORD. President Aquino handed this year.s presidential saber to newly-commissioned ensign Kristian Daeve Abiqui, the valedictorian of Philippine Military Academy Gabay Laya Class of 2016. The president led this year's graduation rites at Fort del Pilar. PHOTO BY EV ESPIRITU

THE SWORD. President Aquino handed this year’s presidential saber to newly-commissioned ensign Kristian Daeve Abiqui, the valedictorian of Philippine Military Academy Gabay Laya Class of 2016. The president led this year’s graduation rites at Fort del Pilar. PHOTO BY EV ESPIRITU

President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday reminded the graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) of the military’s responsibility to protect the Filipino people, secure sovereignty, and safeguard democracy, as he brought up the armed forces’ role under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

In his speech during the graduation ceremonies of PMA GABAY-LAYA Class of 2016 in Baguio, Aquino, citing the Constitution, said “civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.”

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“Gusto ko nga pong ipagdiinan ang tungkulin ng Sandatahang Lakas sa ating demokrasya, lalo pa’t ipinagdiriwang natin ang ika-30 anibersaryo ng EDSA People Power Revolution. Nangyari po sa ating kasaysayan ang isang eksperimento, kung saan minsan kayong kinasangkapan para sikilin ang demokrasya at maipatupad ang mga kapritso ng iisang pamilya,” Aquino said before 63 PMA graduates, the smallest batch since the 1960s.

The President also recalled the restoration of people’s confidence in the military under the term of his late mother and democracy icon Corazon Aquino, and boasted of military modernization projects under his own administration.

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“Sa ilalim naman po ng aking ina, ibinalik ang tiwala ng mamamayan sa inyong hanay, na nangakong pagsisilbihan ang taumbayan. At sa atin sa Daang Matuwid, sama-sama nating hinubog at pinalakas ang Sandatahang Lakas upang higit ninyong magampanan ang inyong tungkulin,” he said.

Less than two months before the upcoming national elections, Aquino also urged the military to stay neutral in politics to avoid “monopoly of power.”

“Tandaan lang po natin, tanging Sandatahang Lakas lang ang may puwersa, na kung makikihalo, lalo na sa pulitika, ay may tinatawag pong ‘monopoly of power.’ Tila hindi ho parehas ang usapan, kaya importanteng nasa isip natin parating neutral tayo, lalo na pagdating sa pamumulitika,” he said.

In instances when they would feel superior over everybody else and power was corrupting them, Aquino said the PMA graduates should reassess their beliefs and principles to avoid a repeat of the “dark chapters” of the country’s history.

“Kailangan din ninyong isaalang-alang: Oras na dumating kayo sa punto na para bang kayo na lang ang tama, kayo na lang ang magaling, muli ninyong suriin ang inyong paninindigan,” Aquino said.

“Mga kasama, ang mga prinsipyong ikinintal sa inyong alaala ang magpapatatag sa inyong loob sa pagtupad ninyo sa mandatong maging mga tagapagtanggol ng inyong kapwa Pilipino. Nasa inyong mga kamay kung mamamayani ang demokrasya o kung babalik tayo sa madilim na kabanata ng pang-aabuso at kawalang hustisya; kung magiging laganap ang kapayapaan sa mga komunidad na siyang hihimok sa iba na makiisa, o kung babalik tayo sa estado ng pagdududa sa isa’t isa,” he added.

Peace process

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As he recognized the military’s commitment to the peace process in Mindanao, Aquino took a swipe at two senators who vehemently blocked the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which was aimed at creating a new Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao, without offering an alternative.

“Alam po natin ang kasabihang ‘Ang kasundaluhan ang huling magnanais na magkaroon ng kaguluhan.’ Sila nga ang unang sasabak sa hidwaan, sila ang unang magsasakripisyo, at sila ang unang malalagay sa peligro. Nariyan po ang panukalang Bangsamoro Basic Law, kasama na ang Framework Agreement at Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Ang hangad natin: Maghatid ng katarungan, kapayapaan, at kaunlaran sa Bangsamoro,” Aquino said.

“Ang masakit po, may dalawang miyembro ng Senado na tahasang hinarang ang BBL. Dito ko naalala yung sinasabi ng nakakatanda: Sige, malinawag na ayaw mo, ano naman ang gusto mo? Ang dalawang miyembrong ito ng Senado, naiwan na lang sa ‘ayaw’ nang walang nilalatag na mas mainam na solusyon. Kayo na nga po ang humusga kung sino sa amin ang nagkulang at kung sino naman ang tumotoo sa inyo,” he added.

The Congress failed to pass the BBL, a key component of the peace pact inked by the Aquino administration with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, when it adjourned in February.

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TAGS: Aquino, Bangsamoro, Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, Benigno Aquino, Graduation, graduation rites, Military, Philippine Military Academy, PMA
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