Military: No destab plot among ranks

By Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2014 03:23 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2014 02:16 AM

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines sees nothing within the active service that would indicate that a destabilization plot against the government is in the offing, AFP public affairs chief Ramon Zagala said.

"Within the AFP presently, there is no monitored destabilization among active members. There is no recruitment, nor any moves within the active service to do such," Zagala said.

The military spokesman said upon entry into active service, soldiers agree to shed civilian liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This bars them from expressing their opinions about issues.

"The active also have opinions. However, they should keep it to themselves as members of the Armed Forces," he said.

"We can just talk about it later on when we're outside the service. But for now, it may hamper our duties if we do so."

Zagala, however, said retired members of the Armed Forces are no longer bound by these limitations.

"The retired, they have regained [those liberties] already. So they may speak, they may attend rallies. Since they are retired we have no control over them. As long as they don't instigate taking up arms. Then we will have a problem. But if it's just to say their problems or issues… it's a free country."

The military spokesman said he sees nothing inherently wrong should active Armed Forces personnel meet and speak with retired officers. Zagala said they should practice caution especially on matters like these.

"If it's a social gathering, if they are former colleagues, there is nothing wrong. However, we advise our officers to be discerning. But we are confident that the level of professionalism in the AFP is very high," he said.