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Why not just amend PD 1650?

  • Written by Paul M.Gutierrez
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 251

BAGO ang lahat, nagpapasalamat ang National Press Club (NPC) sa lahat ng dumalo at nakiisa sa ginawang ‘Konsiyerto Para sa Katarungan’ noong Miyerkules ng gabi sa ‘Bambu Intramuros’ bilang paggunita sa ika-7 anibersaryo ng ‘Ampatuan Massacre.’

At huwag ka nang “magmaktol,” kasamang Val ‘Abdus Salaam’ dahil ‘overall,’ wika nga, matagumpay naman ang ating pa-konsiyerto, hindi ba? ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ hehehe!
    
Sa ngayon ay inaayos pa ng NPC ang “kuwenta” kung magkano ang kinita ng proyektong ito na “hahatiin” bilang ayuda sa mga pamilya ng biktima sa hanay ng media na patuloy pa ring lumalaban para sa katarungan kaya… abangan ang susunod nating anunsiyo, hane?
   
‘MAGANDANG PAPASKO’ NI COMM. NICK FAELDON?
   
Ayon sa isang kaibigan natin sa “sirkulo” ni BoC Comm. Nick Faeldon, may “inihahanda” pala siyang “magandang pamasko” sa lahat ng mga empleyado, peksman, kasamang Remy Princesa ng BoCEA.
   
At huwag lang “makakanal” katulad ng maaga siyang “masibak” sa posisyon na siyang “tsismis” na ayaw pa ring “mamatay” sa pantalan, ito ay walang iba kundi ang ‘mass promotion’ sa hanay ng mga empleyado!
   
‘Oh yes, dear readers d’yan sa BoC, lumalabas na bukod sa bantang “pagpatay” sa hanay ng mga ‘corrupt’ sa ahensiya, may “pusong mamon” din naman pala si Comm. Nick na nag-iisip din kung ano ang ‘the greatest good for the greatest number. At ano pa nga aba ito, kundi ‘mass promotion.’ Abangan na lang natin kung totoo nga dahil kung hindi eh, ang tawag d’yan, “drowing,” hehehe!

* * *   

Here is thanking my many fans, err, friends, in the AFP, “from top to bottom” of the chain of command, so to speak, for the nice comments my Tuesday’s column (‘Pres. Duterte should do a Solomonic act in the AFP’) elicited.
   
And thank you too, to a fine officer -- and gentleman to boot -- who emailed to yours truly, several “inputs” dating back to several years ago, as regards the problematic issue of promotion and placement in the AFP. These emails truly help yours truly to get a better “appreciation” of this very vexing issue.
   
The main “culprit” of course is the “political nature” of appointment in the AFP particularly those pertaining to the major service commands (Army, Navy, Air Force) and of course, the post of chief of staff. The rule of thumb is, the ‘higher the position, the more political the appointment becomes.’
   
And this problematic situation is even made worse by the fact that in the “haste” by which the framers of the 1987 Constitution wanted to “erase” all vestiges of our martial law past, we ended up “enmeshing” the entire appointment process in politics thru the “intervention” of politicians down at the local level (mayors, congressmen, governors) and up in Congress thru the Commission on Appointments.
   
Translation? Mas “tumindi” ang problema sa “sistemang bata-bata” at “padrino system” sa loob ng ating Sandatahang Lakas, which was “neatly summed up” under Section 16 Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution, whereby all military appointees from the rank of colonel to chief of staff are obliged to prostrate, err, present themselves, before the CA (read: politicians).
   
And if this is not enough, Section 5 Article 16 also provides that “laws on retirement of military officers shall not allow extension of service.”
   
I was impressed to learn that in 2013, in the “run-up” to the appointment of chief of staff, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, an informal “text blast” survey of possible candidates to replace then AFP chief, Gen. Jessie Dellosa, disclosed that “politics” too has become “entrenched” in the AFP as each respondent, a confidential memorandum early that year showed, “expressed preference” for a CASP from his own branch of service.
   
From the emails sent to me, it appears that there have been many efforts to amend Section 16, Article 7 of the Constitution and limit the scope of the CA coverage to the position of chief of staff and the major service branches over the years.
   
All of them, of course, have been in vain and which should give all of us also a fair idea of just how lacking in interest and “malasakit” many of generals, once they retired, to the stability of the institution they all professed their “love” and “commitment” once upon a time -- wala na silang pakialam, huhuhu!
   
But if amending the Constitution is proving to be a “tough nut” to crack, then maybe one way by which Pres. Duterte can ‘stabilize’ the situation -- it now appearing that he intends to bring back the much-hated “revolving door policy” in the AFP -- is to look at the limits placed on military service by Presidential Decree 1650.
   
PD 1650, which amended PD 1638 (‘Establishing a new system of retirement and separation for military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and for other purposes’) was issued by then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos on November 8, 1979, providing for the “mandatory retirement” of all AFP officers and personnel on reaching the age of 56 or 30 years of service, whichever comes first.
   
Anyway one looks at it, PD 1650 only made worse the problem of ‘politicking’ within the AFP, compounded the problem of solving the long-sought for “stability” in the chain of command and more importantly, further promoted the revolving door policy.
   
Then and now, knowing that a sitting chief of staff is not expected to last even a year due to PD 1650, the intra-service “rivalry” and intense search for political support from the outside (read: politicians and other vested interests) become more intense as the “day of reckoning” nears. In this case, by early next month, when good friend, Gen. Bong Visaya is expected to retire.
   
At dahil ang ‘full attention’ ng mga opisyal ng Sandatahang Lakas ay “nakatutok” kung “sino” ang susunod na chief of staff, ang “nagdurusa” siyempre ay ang interes ng estado at ng buong bansa -- seguridad at istabilidad ng ating lipunan -- dahil may ‘temporary halt’ sa lahat ng mga programa at operasyon.
   
Maybe, what PDU30 can do is to order his legal staff, Atty. Sal Panelo to be exact, to “study” how PD 1650 can be amended without brooking the limits placed by the Constitution as regards the term of office of the chief of staff and the major service commanders.
   
If a way can be found to extricate these positions from this constitutional “straight jacket” thus giving the chain of command the stability and continuity that has continue to elude it up to now, then I am sure that Pres. Rody would be hailed, this early, as the “best” commander in chief of them all.
   
What do you think, Mr. President?