The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sees no need to conduct loyalty checks among its ranks despite the ongoing political fallout between President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The statement of (AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr.) is there is not even a need for a loyalty check,” AFP spokesperson Colonel Francel Padilla said in a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Padilla was answering questions from the media if the AFP had monitored any division among its ranks in light of the moves for Charter change through people’s initiative (PI), which the former president opposed.
During a prayer rally in Davao City on Sunday, Jan. 28, Duterte heavily criticized constitutional amendment through PI, accusing the Marcoses of trying to perpetuate themselves in power. He also called President Marcos “bangag” (high on illegal drugs) and a drug addict.
Duterte also bared that during his time as the Davao City mayor, he received information in his office that the now President Marcos was in Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) list of people who were involved in illegal drug use. PDEA denied this.
The former chief executive also called on the military and the police to protect the Constitution against alleged threats.
In reply to the tirade of his immediate predecessor, President Marcos said the mental state of Duterte was affected by fentanyl. It is a potent pain killer, which Duterte used after sustaining injuries from a motorcycle accident.
Meanwhile, the AFP spokesperson stressed that the military would continue to follow the Constitution. “This is just like—it’s reviving, it’s giving directions, and is reminding us of our sworn duty,” she said.
Padilla also said that Brawner had called on every soldier not to involve themselves in the issue and be “non-partisan and professional.”
“The keyword here is that the AFP is non-partisan. We will continue to focus on our mission to end our local terrorist insurgency problem and transition ultimately to territorial defense,” Padilla noted.
Brawner on Monday urged the military to rally behind the Marcos administration’s “Bagong Pilipinas” policy, saying “the AFP shall be at its vanguard.”