Admin senatorial bet urges critics to spare AFP from politics

March 10, 2010 10:35 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, March 10 — Human rights lawyer and Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial candidate Silvestre "Bebot" Bello III has called on candidates and other groups to spare the military from partisan politics by dissociating the stigma of the alleged cheating during the 2004 elections to the appointment of Lieutenant General Delfin Bangit as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"We have been hearing calls of candidates and other sectors to spare the AFP from politics but aren’t they the ones themselves politicizing the military by raising unfair allegations against General Bangit?" said Bello.

"General Bangit is a well-respected military officer and reading his credentials, I believe that he earned his right to become highly-qualified for the top military post," he said.

"Gen. Bangit should not be dragged into a controversy he was not a participant of nor involved with. He should be given the benefit of the doubt, he should be given a fair chance to implement his plans for the military organization by leaving the AFP alone," he added.

Bello, a former peace chief negotiator, said that as far as he is concerned, he believes the automated elections is zeroing in on clean, honest and manipulation-free elections which is more secure than manual elections.

As such, he urged the newly appointed AFP chief to prove his critics wrong by ensuring not only the peaceful and credible conduct of the elections but also the smooth transition of government for the next president.

Bangit, in his assumption speech at the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, vowed not to take sides in the upcoming May 10 elections.

"I will not allow anybody to use me for partisan politics. Sa Diyos lang ako magpapagamit (If there is any one who could use me, it would be God)," he said.

The newly appointed AFP chief, in an earlier radio interview, said he understood the President’s critics, saying they were merely being cautious.

"But they must look at what I can do and what I have not done. Still, it is the right of everyone to criticize," he said. (PNA)

LDV/LGI

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