Malacañang defends promotion of Sarangani Rep. Pacquiao to lieutenant colonel in AFP

October 17, 2011 11:21 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 17 — Malacanang defended the basis of the promotion of Sarangani Congressman and Filipino boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny" Pacquiao to lieutenant colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) reserve force amid criticisms from groups questioning his qualifications in earning the rank.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, during a regular press briefing at the Palace on Monday, said that there are corresponding ranks for government leaders who are also military reservists whether they are appointees or elected officials.

“The position of Congressman Pacquiao, who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, was due to his position as a congressman, yun po ang recommendation ng AFP…” Lacierda said.

“May mga basis po yan sa AFP… it was not for no other reasons that he (Pacquiao) was promoted, it was because of his position as congressman… and as a reservist and a congressman he is entitled to the position of Lieutenant Colonel,” Lacierda added.

When asked if Pacquiao was commissioned through “palakasan” system, Lacierda downplayed the idea as he stated the basis of the Filipino boxing champion’s promotion.

“Wala pong palakasan, just to give you an example of the elected officials and their ranks… a senator, congressman, provincial governor… they have the rank of lieutenant colonel, presidential appointees, department secretaries, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals Justices and the members of the Constitutional Commission, the ambassador… they also have the rank of lieutenant colonel,” Lacierda said.

“Kapag undersecretary major po, MTC, RTC judges… major, ang city mayor po is also a lieutenant colonel if he is a mayor of a highly-urbanized city and then ang city vice mayor major din po, so there are corresponding ranks po to the positions that you have in government, so wala pong palakasan ito,” he further noted.

Lacierda said that criticisms on Pacquiao’s promotion by several groups may have stemmed from lack of the necessary information.

“I think hindi po na-explain ng maayos ito… that is the reason why may mga ganoong klaseng criticisms kung bakit ang laki ng promotion ni Congressman Pacquiao,” Lacierda said.

Pacquiao was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel from Senior Master Sergeant, which took effect last September 21, based on the recommendation of the Army.

Pacquiao was first enlisted in the Army reserve force with the rank of sergeant on April 1, 2006 on the recommendation of Brig. Gen. Alexander Yano, who used to be a brigade commander in Sarangani. Yano served as Armed Forces chief before retiring in 2009.

Six months after his enlistment, Pacquiao was promoted to the next rank of technical sergeant and on Oct. 7, 2007, then he was promoted to master sergeant. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant on May 4, 2009. (PNA)

DCT/PCOO/ssc

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