MANILA — The Philippine Army has been keeping tabs on those who are leaving their force following the revelation that many of the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo were found to be ex-military men, the Department of National Defense said on Saturday.
In a media forum, Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the Philippine Army has already “taken steps” by monitoring those who have retired, will retire, and those who earlier left in their branch.
“Mino-monitor nila. In fact, without giving away too much, dito sa Task Force Degamo nitong isang araw, si Secretary Benhur Abalos mentioned that the apprehension and surrender of the suspects were primarily made possible by intelligence,” Andolong said.
“They were able to keep tabs on these personnel na nag-AWOL, disappear,” he added.
Interventions such as counseling, seminars, and debriefing are important as soldiers become civilians after leaving or retiring from their force, he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier said they plan to mount a discharge program regarding this, as soldiers have dangerous skills.
“Lalo na kapag hinugot sila sa field at bumalik sila dito, they would need adjustment. At siyempre, tao lang ang mga ito, may mga problema, suliranin sa bahay, they have to be taken care of. I give kudos to the Philippine army kasi mayroon silang counseling diyan at guidance,” Andolong said.
“Ganoon din sa mga malapit na mag-retire. Mayroon nang seminars na binibigay sa kanila for them to transition to civilian life,” he added.
Three of the alleged gunmen in Degamo's slay include a former sergeant who was discharged after he “went amok” and took absences without leave, another ex-sergeant allegedly involved in illegal drugs, and a former corporal accused of “misbehavior before the enemy.”
Andolong though said these individuals were “really problematic” during their time in the Philippine Army. He did not mention anything specific.
“Kung sana mayroon na tayong counseling baka sakaling ano,” he said.
AFP Spokesperson Medel Aguilar had said the military will review its transition and assistance program for former personnel.