PNS — FORMER President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, standard-bearer of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), doused speculations that the appointment of Philippine Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines would pave the way for a “no proclamation scenario” after the May elections.
“There are rumors that Gen. Bangit and his men would be used to manipulate the outcome of the elections. It’s a recipe for unrest.
“(But) let’s give Bangit a chance to disprove all allegations against him. He’s the most maligned military chief. I still subscribe to the professionalism of the military,” Estrada said.
Bangit, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978, of which President Arroyo is an adopted “mistah,” is the most senior military official after Gen. Victor Ibrado, who is to retire today.
“The AFP, under Bangit, should remain apolitical and non-partisan at all times. We should not allow a repeat of the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal,” added Estrada.
He was referring to the recorded telephone conversation between Mrs. Arroyo and then Commission on Elections commissioner, Virgilio Garcillano, wherein they were caught discussing the details of the election count in the 2004 presidential elections.
Although many military officers got entangled in the controversy, Bangit was not one of them.
“I don’t think Bangit is that stupid to ruin his military career just so President Arroyo could stay in power even after the elections,” Estrada said.
“The Arroyo government cannot afford to mock the results of the elections. People will not allow her to continue her ways.”
Estrada also branded as “exaggerated” rumors that Bangit would “populate the entire country with his own men, political operators posing as military men.