ARMED Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. yesterday reiterated the military’s “unflinching” loyalty to the Constitution, amid persistent reports of divisiveness within the ranks and a day after President Rodrigo Duterte challenged them to remove him from office.
“I recommit to the nation the unity and firm resolve of the AFP for an unflinching loyalty to the Constitution and the duly constituted authorities,” he said in a statement.
“I assure our people, and there is no reason to doubt that the 145,000-strong soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines of the AFP are solidly behind the chain of command,” he added.
On national television on Tuesday, Duterte dared the military to remove him from office, a week after he voided the amnesty granted to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer and one of his most vocal critics.
Duterte also ordered the military to arrest the senator, who was granted amnesty in 2011 for his involvement in two military uprisings during the time of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But the latter said they will leave it to the Supreme Court.
The controversial proclamation and arrest order allegedly caused restiveness within the military ranks, which was denied by Galvez.
The AFP chief expressed confidence that the troops would stay out of politics.
“I am confident that the men and women of the AFP will decline firmly any and all attempts to create a wedge in the AFP. And they will do so more for the reason of their oath than it is for fear of severe consequences of relief from post, investigation, and steep penalties under the military justice system,” he said.
He also reiterated that he would defer comments on Trillanes’ case on the Supreme Court.
“I will defer comments on the matter as I, being one among the named respondents in the case, was directed to file comment within 10 days from notice,” the AFP chief said.