Press Release
July 25, 2008

Pres GMA Must Step Into SND - AFPCOS Squabble

Senator Rodolfo G Biazon today said the public argument on the different positions on ending the communist insurgency, between the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is unfortunate.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security explained, "It not only projects to the public that the handling of the insurgency situation is not well strategized but is characterized by confusion among the decision makers, program and policy implementers of the country."

"It does not only produce uncertainty in the mind of the citizens, but it will affect the morale of the fighting men, " Biazon cautioned.

"The worst that could happen to the Armed Forces if for the soldiers to be confused by differing pronouncements from their leaders that send them to battle."

The former AFP Chief of Staff strongly recommends, "The President as the Commander in Chief of the AFP must step in to prevent this situation from becoming a full blown public debate between two heads of the national security agency. Only the President can make this decision."

Biazon clarified, "It can not be made by the Secretary of National Defence, by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or even the Presidential Peace Adviser, General Hermogenes Esperon. The national policy of pursuing either a ceasefire, peace talks or military actions can only be made by the President and of course listening to her advisers. But the pronouncements to the public must be clearly a decision of The President, the Commander in Chief.

"If there are any differences in program and policy positions, this should be debated within the confines of a closed door session among the officials of the Executive Department and the decision should be made by the President. However if the decision to be made will require responses or actions from the Legislature, a National Security Council session is order."

Biazon proposed, "A study should be made as to the effects of the many peace talks and cessation of hostilities adopted in the past. If it did not work, what should be done to make it work?"

"The different positions of the government on the peace process with the MILF and the possibility of peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF must be made very clear," Biazon concluded.

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