AFP chief says military must 'properly' identify enemies of the state

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2021 11:14 AM | Updated as of Feb 05 2021 11:29 AM

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MANILA - The military will be deliberate in its actions and will "properly" identify enemies of the state under the new Armed Forces of the Philippines' Chief of Staff.

"My main instruction was whenever we talk or whatever things we do, we should be very deliberate," Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, who took over the highest military post, told ANC's Headstart.

"We should exercise due diligence para sa ganon makapagbigay tayo ng magandang serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan. We should not hurt anybody unless he is an enemy of the state.'

"We have to really properly identify the enemies of the state as what I said so that walang collateral damage and so on. So rest assured na magiging deliberate kami sa aming mga ginagawa," he added.

He said to win the war against insurgency, the state forces must not only make itself bigger, "but make the enemy smaller."

"It's better to gain friends than create enemies. Besides, we are mandated to serve the people and should not appear as the enemy of the people," he said.

Sobejana said this after Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.'s statement that Inquirer.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas was spreading propaganda and was "aiding the terrorists by spreading lies."

The new military chief did not directly answer if he considered Tupas an enemy of the state, but said: "We will validate the statement. We will talk about it and present to the public whatever evidence we are able to gather."

He stressed that only Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo is the designated spokesperson of the AFP and Parlade speaks for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Asked if he will apologize if it would be discovered that there was a mistake in Parlade's comments, he said: "If that's the case, we should."