AFP, PNP chiefs meet amid talk of failure of elections

By Henry Omaga Diaz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2010 01:14 AM | Updated as of Mar 20 2010 07:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Jesus Verzosa met behind closed doors in Camp Crame on Friday.

The two were tight-lipped about the meeting.

But observers said it may have something to do with Verzosa's position on the possibility of having a holdover president in the event of a failure of elections.

The Friday meeting was the first time Verzosa and newly-installed Bangit came face-to-face since the PNP chief declared last week he will not join any effort to install President Arroyo as holdover president in case of a failure of elections in May.

“According to the Constitution, we must have a new president after June 30,” Verzosa told the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 11. “We will not support any unconstitutional acts. We will do all things to preserve our democracy and the democratic processes."

Verzosa, however, declined to comment on whether he and Bangit talked about such a scenario. He said Bangit merely paid a courtesy call.

They also discussed the military and the PNP's joint activities that will ensure orderly elections.

"The things that we talked about pertain to our current functions that we are doing, especially our problems in the south, itong ating partisan groups, yung fina-follow up natin, and especially the joint operations that we are conducting," Verzosa said.

But sources said it was unusual for the AFP chief to visit the PNP chief, especially since there was no command conference or scheduled event.

Bangit refused to comment on the meeting.

Bangit was accompanied by the heads of the major commands, including Navy chief Admiral Ferdinand Golez, and Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena.

The source added the two leaders seemed displeased as they stepped out of the meeting.

Malacañang has denied that President Arroyo and Verzosa had a rift because of the PNP chief's remark on holdover presidency.

Conflicts in the President's schedule were blamed for her absence at the PNP academy graduation rites on Thursday.