The Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Politics of Today Essay
The Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Politics of Today “Now the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak” – Sun Tzu (Giles, 1910). I. Introduction The year 1986 opened the door to a new era of military interventions in Philippine politics.
The EDSA People Power Revolt showcased a total makeover in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) image, evolving from an armed forces subservient to a 20-year dictatorship (Selochan, 1989:1) to an armed forces dubbed as the “protector of the Filipino people[i]” (De Leon, 2005: 47-49). However, barely four months after installing President Corazon C. Aquino in office, various elements in the military – Marcos loyalists, Guardians, and the RAM-SFP-YOU staged four successive failed coup attempts and two aborted coup plots from July 1986 to August 1987 (Selochan, 1989:11-15).
Then again, in December 1989, just when civilian authority over the military seemed to have already been functioning, another failed coup attempt was launched, which almost toppled down the presidency. After a decade of calm at the close of the century, the AFP barged once more into the political limelight when former AFP Chief of Staff Gen Angelo Reyes, along with the commanders of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, unexpectedly withheld their support from their Commander-in-Chief at the height of EDSA Dos, which eventually forced the former president to leave Malacanang (Trillanes, 2004:14).
Nevertheless, not all military interventions end in its favor, such as the July 2003 Oakwood incident, which ended in the detention and the filing of various administrative and criminal charges against about 300 officers and enlisted personnel. In 2006, an alleged aborted coup by a grand alliance among the CPP-NPA, the political opposition, and a number of military and PNP officers resulted in the declaration of a State of Emergency (Asian Political News, 2006) and the filing of a rebellion complaint against forty-nine (49) people, including a former senator and three (3) military and police generals (Asian Political News, 2006).
In every case, mutinous forces had defied the government and had used its arms as a means of leverage against the political leadership in power. The five (5) coup attempts during the Aquino presidency left a total of 154 people dead and 812 wounded (Trillanes, 2004: 8-13). In the 1989 coup attempt alone, the economy lost by as much as P 1 billion (Davide, 1990: 378). Consequently, it seriously damaged the restoration of democracy and derailed the economy during President Aquino’s watch. ‘We had been able to get the economy recovering but unfortunately with the 1989 coup attempt investments which had been ready to come to the Philippines suddenly were cancelled and investors had decided to go to other countries instead,” Aquino said (Asian Political News, 2006). For the past two decades, military interventions have occurred continually and have remained a constant threat to the civilian-ruled government. In fact, a number of military interventions have been politically decisive in unseating, destabilizing, and installing Presidents.
Fortunately, none of the interventions ended in direct military rule, nonetheless, does it mean that military interventions cease as soon as a new leadership is installed? Contrary to traditional assumptions, the military has not totally abstained from politics. In practice, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is not purely apolitical[ii], rather it is an active political force that persistently intervenes, though in varying forms and degrees, in government politics. Claude Emerson Welch, Jr. , in his theory on civilian control of the military, posited: Civilian control is a matter of degree. All armed forces participate in politics in various fashions. They cannot be precluded from the political arena, given their organizational identity, autonomy, and functional specialization. Any military has an impact on its political system, with its political roles being “a question not of whether, but of how much and of what kind. ” No military, in short, can be shorn of political influence, save through the rare step of total abolition (Welch, 1976: 2).
As such, despite repeated calls for political neutrality within its ranks, the AFP leadership continues to behave and function in a manner opposite to Goodnow’s clear-cut politics-administration dichotomy (Shafritz and Hyde, 1997: 27-29). Instead, Dwight Waldo’s contention of a bureaucracy immersed in politics (Frederickson and Smith, 2003: 41) provides the platform for understanding the current trend of military politics[iii] in the Philippine bureaucracy.
In view of the above premise, this paper attempts to validate the theory of ‘bureaucratic politics’ by arguing for the existence of politics within the country’s military bureaucracy based on inferences using Welch’ degrees of military intervention in politics (Welch, 1976: 3) and Huntington’s forms of military influence (Huntington, 1957: 88-89). Consequently, it hopes to provide the country’s political leaders a better picture of the military as a bureaucratic agency immersed in politics, thus putting the civilian government at a vantage point in effectively managing the AFP and consistently maintaining civilian supremacy.
II. Overview of Bureaucratic Politics To begin with, a decent understanding of the theories of bureaucratic politics makes a good springboard towards a good comprehension of politics in the military bureaucracy. Bureaucratic politics, as it seeks to explain the policymaking role of administration and bureaucracy, rejects and views Wilson’s politics-administration dichotomy as an analytical convenience at the expense of theoretical development. In fact, according to Waldo, “Administration is not a technical and value-neutral activity separable from politics.
Administration is politics. ” Moreover, Lynn puts it clearly: “Politics and administration represented a synthesis rather than two neatly separable portions of the public policy enterprise. ” Moreover, Meier argues succinctly: “Bureaucracies logically engage in politics of the first order. ” As such, “bureaucracies and bureaucrats routinely engage in political behavior, hence the need to account theoretically for the bureaucracy’s political role. In a more practical point of view, Gaus explains: “Federal agencies don’t only carry out directives from Congress but independently shaped those directives while translating the vague intentions of statutes into specific government actions. ” As a result, administrative theory had to account for politics, thus, bureaucracy obviously wields political power – as they are helping determine the will of the state. Therefore, Gaus concludes: “A theory of Public Administration means in our time a theory of politics also” (Frederickson and Smith, 2003: 41-43).
III. The Officer Corps and the AFP In Huntington’s view, the military security of the society is the direct responsibility of the officer corps. As such, the officer corps is both a bureaucratic profession and a bureaucratic organization tasked for the management of violence. The enlisted personnel, though comprising the most part of the military establishment, are just a part of the organizational bureaucracy but not of the professional bureaucracy (Huntington, 1957: 15-17).
Hence, the officer corps, based on the foregoing, is the rightful representation of the military bureaucracy. Accordingly, the AFP officer corps, though comprising only about a tenth of the total AFP strength, may fittingly represent the entire AFP bureaucracy. Moreover, due to the AFP’s highly hierarchical organizational structure and its strong adherence to the chain of command, the 10,884 officer corps may be aptly represented by their senior field and garrison commanders who are presently holding the top positions in the upper echelon of the AFP.
Currently, AFP senior commanders may be classified according to their source of commission, such as the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Officers’ Candidate School (OCS), Philippine Air Force Flying School (PAFFS), etc. Among them, PMA is the mandated primary source of commission of regular officers in the AFP. In the National Defense Act of 1935, the Commonwealth government formalized the establishment of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) as the primary training institution and source of candidates for permanent commission in the Regular Force (The LAWPHiL Project, 2000).
True to the given mandate, PMA graduates, since the post World War II era, have continually held the top leadership positions at the General Headquarters (GHQ) and in its three major services – the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Navy (PN), and the Philippine Air Force (PAF). In a longitudinal survey of the PMA classes from 1939 to 1971, it showed that out of an average of 62 graduates per class, 22 or about 35% became generals or flag officers[iv]. It peaked at an average of 51% during the Aquino administration while the single class with the highest number of generals and flag officers was the class of 1962 at 62% during President Ramos’ ncumbency. Surprisingly, its lowest average was during President Marcos’ presidency at 21% (PMA Alumni Register, 2004). Moreover, out of the thirty-six (36) Chiefs of Staff of the AFP from 1936 to present, thirty (30) or eighty-three per cent (83%) are regular members of the PMA Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAAI), while two (2) or six (6) per cent (6%) are honorary members (PMA Alumni Register, 2004). In fact, the current top leadership of the AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are all members of the PMAAAI, as shown below: Table 1. Current AFP, PNP, & PCG Leadership Branch of Service |Commanding General |PMA Class | |GHQ |Gen Hermogenes C Esperon AFP |‘74 | |PA |MGen Alexander B Yano AFP |‘76 | |PN |VAdm Rogelio I Calunsag AFP |‘74 | |PAF |LtGen Horacio S Tolentino AFP |‘74 | |PNP |Dir Avelino I Razon, Jr. PNP |‘74 | |PCG |Adm Damian L Carlos PCG |‘74 |
Source: PCG Website (2007); Ateneo de Davao ROTC Unit Website (2007) In addition, though comprising only a small percentage of the AFP officer corps, PMA graduates have consistently been appointed to assume coveted positions in the top echelons of the AFP, as shown below: Table 2. Percentage of PMA graduates as Generals/Flag Officers in the AFP |Branch of Service |Nr of Generals/Flag Officers in the |Nr of PMA Graduates |% | | |AFP | | | |General Headquarters 37 |27 |73 | |Philippine Army |28 |23 |82 | |Philippine Navy |18 |13 |72 | |Philippine Air Force |19 |9 |47 | |Total |102 |72 |71 | Source: Ateneo de Davao ROTC Unit Website (2007)
In view of the aforementioned, the top leadership of the AFP may be presumed to be a domain of the PMA alumni. As a result, the PMAAAI, though a civilian entity (PMA Alumni Register, 2004), may be recognized as an informal representation of the top leadership of the military bureaucracy, thus any political influence it has may directly or indirectly reflect the level of political involvement of the AFP. IV. Dynamics of Politics in the AFP The context of military involvement in politics is a function of civilian control. A range of relationships between the military and the civilian government exists relative to the articulation, development, and implementation of policy.
In a continuum, Welch presents the degree of military intervention in politics (Welch, 1976: 3): |Military Influence |Military Participation |Military Control | Military Control | |(Civilian Control) | |(with partners) |(without partners) | Fortunately, the country has never been under direct military rule, thus, this paper will not delve much on ‘military control’ due to lack of local experience, rather it will focus its succeeding discussions on ‘military influence’ and ‘military participation’ as the currently more relevant perspectives. In addition, it will also use the discussion to show the extent of the AFP’s involvement in politics. A.
Military Influence “Military influence” in politics falls within the parameters of civilian control in democratic states and developing countries. In other words, along this range, civilian supremacy over the military is in effect and any military form of involvement in politics is considered as the “normal” form of civilian control and functions safely within Constitutional limits. Nevertheless, this political involvement is generally limited among senior officers holding top ranking positions. As such, involvement of junior officers in political affairs is strongly prohibited so as not to compromise the integrity of the military’s chain of command.
Likewise, distinct lines are imposed that clearly separate military from political roles. Accordingly, this form of political influence may be confined to the military’s giving of technical knowledge to political leaders and does not contain any coercive power (Welch, 1976: 3-4). Welch went further to elucidate: Put in this perspective, civilian control means that the military lobbies as do other parts of the government; seeks to carry out a relatively specific set of policy objectives; and employs channels of decision-making with the military that do not breach its integrity as an institution, or, alternatively, ensures that this organizational integrity is subordinated to political institutions and parties (Welch, 1976: 2).
Moreover, the political power of the military exists in two (2) forms, formal authority and informal influence. Unlike formal authority, which is ordered, structured, or legitimate power, informal influence stems from personality, wealth, knowledge, prestige, friendship, kinship, or a variety of other sources, which are more difficult to judge. Nonetheless, military influence may come in various forms or fashions and may be classified according to four rough indices (Huntington, 1957: 86-88): (1) The group affiliations of the officer corps and its leaders; (2) The economic and human resources subject to the authority of the officer corps and its leaders; 3) The hierarchical interpenetration of the officer corps and other groups; and (4) The prestige and popularity of the officer corps and its leaders (Huntington: 1957: 88-89). However, showing that the military possesses political influence and proving its use to achieve its ‘corporate interests’[v] are two difficult areas of inquiries. Nevertheless, based on the foregoing, this paper will endeavor to show the military’s substantial political influence and its probable usage by inferring from current sources and recent developments. 1. The group affiliations of the officer corps and its leaders. The higher the pre-service, in-service, and post-service affiliations of the officer corps and its leaders, the higher the political influence of the military.
The degree and character of its affiliations with other influential and powerful groups and individuals determine the extent of the military’s political influence (Huntington, 1957: 88). As presented earlier, the PMAAAI is presumed as an informal representation of the AFP top leadership, thus any affiliation it has with influential groups and individuals enhances the AFP’s political influence. For the past seven (7) decades, the PMAAAI has conferred honorary memberships to a number of powerful and influential figures. Among its distinguished honorary members, past and present, include distinguished individuals from the three branches of the government and the private sector, as shown below: Table 3.
PMAAAI Distinguished Honorary & Associate Members (Past & Present) |Position |Number |Distinguished Individuals | |President |2 |Pres Gloria M. Arroyo & | | | |Pres Ferdinand E. Marcos | |Prime Minister |1 |PM Cesar EA Virata | |Senator |7 |Sen Pres Manuel B Villar, Jr. |Congressman |7 |Speaker Ramon Mitra, Sr. | |Ambassador |3 |Amb Carlos P Romulo | |Cabinet Secretary |7 |Sec Alberto G Romulo | |Governor |3 |Gov Ferdinand R Marcos, Jr. | |Justice |2 |Hon Reynato S Puno | |Publisher |1 |Mr. Maximo V Soliven |
Source: PMA Alumni Register (2004); PMAAAI Annual Report AY 2006-2007 Apart from its distinguished civilian honorary and associate members, the PMAAAI also includes a number of highly successful honorary and associate members from the different uniformed services, as shown below: Table 4. PMAAAI Distinguished Honorary & Associate Members in the Military (Past & Present) |Rank |Number |Distinguished Individuals | |Generals & Flag Officers |56 |Gen Fabian C Ver AFP | |Colonels & Navy Captains |56 | | Source: PMA Alumni Register (2004)
The military also enjoys political influence through a number of elected and appointed government officials who are currently commissioned officers in the Reserve Force of the AFP. From 2000 to 2003 alone, records show that 87 government officials, 65 of which are elected officials, were commissioned in the Reserve Force. In the 14th Congress, five senators are commissioned officers in the Reserve Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel: Sen. Loren B. Legarda, Sen. Francis Joseph G. Escudero, Sen. Juan Flavier, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, and Sen. Richard Gordon (O/J8, AFP, 2007). 2. The economic and human resources subject to the authority of the officer corps and its leaders.
The higher the financial allocation and the number of people serving under the armed services, either as a civilian employee or as a military personnel, the greater the influence of the military (Huntington, 1957: 88). In the Philippine context, this form of military influence in politics is highly evident on how the Department of National Defense and the AFP has effectively lobbied for an increase in its annual appropriations, troop strength, personnel benefits, etc. Among the different departments in the national government, DND has the second highest number of personnel based on its incurred Personal Services for FY 2003, 2004 & 2005, as shown below: Table 5.
National Government Personal Services FY 2003, 2004, & 2005 |Department |2003 |2004 |2005 | | |Amount |% |Amount |% |Amount |% | |NG |[pic] 279. 6 B |100. 0 | [pic] 282. 1B |100. 0 |[pic] 298. 9B |100. 0 | |DEPED |96. 1B |34. 4 |92. 2B |32. 7 |97. 9B |32. 7 | |DND |56. 3B |20. 1 |59. 6B |21. 1 |62. 8B |21. 0 | |DILG |45. 7B |16. 3 |47. 6B |16. |50. 8B |17. 0 | Source: COA (2003, 2004 & 2005) In fact, among the 3 biggest occupational groups in the national government, the uniformed personnel of the AFP is the second highest at 133, 783 (DBM, 2007), with teachers as the biggest at 449,340 and the PNP uniformed personnel at 115,499 for a close third (CSC, 2004). Moreover, aside from the AFP’s personnel in the active service, it also currently maintains a combined reserve force from the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and the Philippine Navy of about 285,424 personnel (O/J8, AFP, 2007), as shown in the table below: Table 7. AFP Reserve Force Build-up |Officers |Enlisted Personnel |Total | |Ready reserve |5,072 |77,137 |82,209 | |Standby reserve |3,797 |186,317 |190,114 | |Affiliated reserve |381 |8,085 |8,466 | |Technical reserve |4,635 | |4,635 | |Total |13,885 |271,539 |285,424 | Source: O/J8, AFP (2007) Furthermore, aside from reservists in the aviation, engineering, and maritime industries, the AFP Reserve Force also has a Technical Reserve that consists of practitioners from various professions, as shown in Table 8. Accordingly, its wide representation from various sectors indicates its broad political influence in the private sector. Table 8. Technical Reserve Profile Profession |Number | |Lawyers |780 | |Priests, pastors, imams |112 | |Medical Doctors |1,839 | |Veterinarians |62 | |Dentists |393 | |Nurses |1,221 | |Medical Assistants |228 | |TOTAL |4,675 | Source: O/J8, AFP (2007)
Moreover, DND was also consistently among the top ten departments/offices in the national government in terms of allotment releases, obligations incurred, and amounts disbursed as indicated in the Annual COA Report for FY 2004 & 2005, as shown in the table below: Table 6. DND Allotments, Obligations & Disbursements for FY ‘03, ‘04 & ‘05 | |Allotments |Rank |Obligations |Rank |Disbursements |Rank | |2003 |[pic] 50. 62 B |3rd |[pic] 48. 40 B |3rd |[pic] 43. 46 B |3rd | |2004 |[pic] 41. 77 B |6th |[pic] 41. 46 B |3rd |[pic] 35. 78 B |2nd | |2005 |[pic] 24. 8 B |5th |[pic] 24. 78 B |4th |[pic] 24. 12 B |3rd | Source: COA (2003, 2004, & 2005) Furthermore, during the fiscal year 2005, PMA got the third biggest appropriation among the state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country despite having a student population of only about one thousand one hundred (1,100) cadets, which came out as the highest per capita cost among SUCs at around five hundred thousand pesos (P 500, 000) for every cadet per year or about two million pesos (P 2M) for each graduate within a period of four years, as shown below. Table 7. Top 5 SUCs in the FY 2005 Appropriations State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) |2005 Appropriation | |University of the Philippines System |4,162,794,000 | |Mindanao State University |932,008,000 | |Philippine Military Academy |568,170,000 | |Polytechnic University of the Philippines |512,887,000 | |Don Mariano Marcos State University | 293,599,000 | Source: DBM Website (2007) Aside from its regular appropriations, the AFP also gets from time to time an increased funding for its Internal Security Operations. In June 2006, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the government was releasing one (1) billion pesos as first installment to finance the AFP’s renewed drive to crush the communist insurgency (PDI, 2006). The military also effectively lobbied for an increase in promotion quota for major generals and rear admirals from 26% to 30% through the passage of Republic Act No. 9188. vi] Lastly, per Executive Order No. 611, the military received an increase of thirty pesos (P30) per day in subsistence allowance and a one hundred twenty pesos (P120) per month in hazard pay effective July 1, 2007. 3. The hierarchical interpenetration of the officer corps and other groups. The higher the number of military personnel assuming civilian positions in government, the higher the influence of the military. For example, “an increase in the total number of military men occupying positions of authority in the normally civilian branches of government warrants a conclusion as to an increase in the degree of military influence” (Huntington, 1957: 89).
In the Philippine experience, the practice of appointing active military officers in civilian positions in government started as early as during the term of President Magsaysay, which peaked during the martial law years (Selochan, 1989: 4-7). Some of the military appointees of President Magsaysay are shown below: Table 8. Military Appointees of President Magsaysay |Executive Secretary |Col. Fred Ruiz | |Acting NBI Director/USEC, DND |Maj. Jose Crisol | |Secretary of Defense |Col.
Sotero Cabahug | |Secretary of Labor |BGen Eleuterio Adevoso | |Usec of Agriculture & Natural Resources |LtCol. Jaime Ferrer | |Chairman, Pres’l Complaints Action Comm |LtCol. Frisco San Juan | |Gen. Mgr, Manila Railroad Company |Col. Salvador Villa | |Commissioner of Customs |Col. Jaime Velasquez | |Pres’l Legal Adviser |Col.
Mamerto Montemayor | |Pres’l Private Secretary |Capt. Noli Reyes | Source: Selochan (1989) In the 1987 Constitution, such practice had become unconstitutional. [vii] However, the habit of post EDSA 1 administrations of appointing retired military officers in civilian positions still resembles the said practice. Although technically military officers revert back to their civilian status upon retirement, a number of them, while serving in civilian posts in government, continue to bring with them their “military ethos,” which clashes with the prevailing “democratic ethos” (Asian Political News, 2003). 4. Prestige and popularity of the officer corps and its leaders.
The higher the reputation of the military in public opinion, most especially among broad or major sectors, the higher is the influence of the military (Huntington, 1957: 89). From 1987 to 2001, more than 50 former military men have actually run for public office (Asian Political News, 2003). Despite a number of scandals and allegations of corruption within the military, a number of former military officers successfully won elective positions and became prominent figures in the political arena, as shown in the table below: Table 9. Former Military Officers Holding Elective Positions (Past & Present) |Position |Number |Distinguished Individuals | |President |1 |Pres.
Fidel V. Ramos | |Senator |4 |Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson | |Congressman |6 |Cong. Roilo S. Golez | |Governor |2 |Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. | |Mayor |1 |Mayor Raul C. Tupas | Source: Senate Website (2007); House of Representatives Website (2007); Department of the Interior and Local Government Website (2007)
Based on the data presented above, which covered Huntington’s four (4) indices of military influence, it can be clearly inferred that the leadership of the AFP officer corps, majority of whom are PMA alumni, possesses and exerts ‘military influence’ in lobbying for increase in appropriations and number of personnel, granting of promotions in rank and assignments to top AFP positions, and later on, for appointment in civilian government posts upon retirement in the military service. This political phenomenon parallels the US military’s successful political maneuvering in Washington since the Vietnam War, which since then, have brought them influence, power, and appropriations despite after losing a war (Buzzanco, 1996). B. Military Participation “Military participation” in politics is similar in kind but different in degree with that of “military influence. ” In “military participation,” the “normal” or legal avenues of politicking in “military influence,” such as lobbying for bigger appropriations, increase in personnel strength, funds for additional troop benefits, etc. becomes more intense, with the military applying pressure or resorting into “blackmail” of political leaders (Welch, 1976: 4). The Aquino administration experienced tremendous pressure from persistent threats of rebellion from elements of the RAM-SFP-YOU and the necessity of securing the loyalty of government forces. After four (4) successive failed coup attempts and two (2) aborted coup plots from 1986-1987, the Aquino government responded to the rebellion by granting AFP personnel pay and allowance increases. In 1988, the AFP budget was overwhelmingly approved by Congress making it “the second biggest recipient and the only institution whose allocation Congress increased despite driving an added 4 per cent in government deficits” (Javate-de Dios, 1988:314).
However, despite the increase in AFP appropriations and in personnel pay and allowances, another coup attempt was launched in 1989. Once again, the government responded by granting the military with pay increases. Congress, for its part, rushed the passage of bills to grant pay increases to soldiers. Salary increases even reached up to 106% for a master sergeant and 36% for a general. After that, three more pay increases were given to soldiers, of which two were given during the time of President Ramos and the other one during the term of President Estrada (Trillanes, 2004). In most cases, however, the initiative for greater military participation most often comes from civilians and not from the military (Welch, 1976: 4).
The 2001 People Power revolt was a civilian-initiated uprising coupled by the military’s participation through the sudden withdrawal by the AFP leadership of support from its Commander-in-Chief, which forced the latter to abdicate from office. The successful and peaceful ending of EDSA 2 might have taken a different conclusion without the military’s participation or had the military remained loyal to the former president. Nevertheless, the said participation was a result of a series of meetings between the military and the camp of former Vice-President Arroyo. In his book, Historying Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Nick Joaquin clearly narrates the chain of events: “It was they (military) who contacted me, not me who contacted them. And these were aside from my earlier meetings with those five groups volunteering to protect my right to succeed the President.
The subsequent meetings with the military began, I think, with Victor Corpus, towards the end of October. And it was never a question of me supporting them, no. They were going to support me, period – for a constitutional succession” – President Arroyo (Joaquin, 2002: 225). “… Apparently there had been talks with the military on Thursday night, and the military were presumably now discussing among themselves whether to shift their allegiance to the vice-president… I remember Gloria warning me not to let anybody know something was expected to happen that afternoon. Actually it happened at noon: Gloria had lunch with Armed Forces Chief Angelo Reyes at the Corinthian and she got definite info on how she stood with the military.
That afternoon she met again with General Reyes but this time he was with the four service commanders. And one by one those four stood before her and declared what was their decision – Rene Corona[viii] (Joaquin, 2002: 227-228). ” The political leadership in power, besieged by enormous demands from militant sectors and threatened with expulsion from political rivals, oftentimes turns to the military to secure its political clout and perpetuate itself in power. In this case, political decisions are made by a combination of civilian and military leaders (Welch, 1976: 4). President Marcos, in order to perpetuate himself in power, declared Martial Law.
During that time, the country experienced a deluge in the number of officers in the active service assuming civilian positions in government. From that period, he relied on the armed forces to retain power for another fourteen (14) years (Selochan, 1989: 32). President Arroyo, since assuming power in 2001, has constantly faced threats from the political opposition, the civil society, and some rebel forces in the military, highlighted by the EDSA Tres uprising in 2001 (Wikipedia, 2007), the Magdalo Oakwood mutiny in 2003 (Wikipedia, 2007), and the 2006 alleged aborted coup by a grand alliance among the political opposition, CPP/NPA, and elite forces in the Army, Marines, and the PNP (Wikipedia, 2007).
Fortunately, President Arroyo continues to enjoy the loyalty of her trusted generals in the AFP and the PNP (CenPEG, 2005). The practice of appointing retired military officers in government resembles “military participation” in politics. After the Marcos dictatorship, President Aquino continued with the practice by appointing Lt. Gen. Manuel Yan as acting foreign secretary, Maj. Gen. Rafael Ileto as defense secretary (a civilian portfolio the president later gave to Gen. Ramos), and nearly 20 other retired officers to various top civilian posts. During the Ramos presidency, at least 100 ex-military officers were also appointed to civilian posts and board seats of major government-owned and controlled corporations.
President Estrada, during his brief stint as president, appointed at least 18 former military officers to civilian posts in government (Asian Political News, 2003). Based on the latest count, President Arroyo has already appointed in the cabinet and in top positions in the bureaucracy about twenty-five (25) retired senior military officers, including five (5) former AFP Chiefs of staff and four (4) PNP chiefs. Among the appointees, there are seven (7) cabinet level appointees, four (4) ambassadors/envoys, and fourteen (14) agency heads/chiefs of agencies (CenPEG, 2006). However, in retrospect, partnership with the military does not always assure continuity in power, such was the case of former President Marcos and President Estrada.
The late strongman was toppled down from office through a mutiny initiated by the partnership of his defense minister and now senator, Juan Ponce Enrile, and former President Ramos, then the AFP Vice Chief of Staff. The initial drama of the mutiny may vividly be pictured through the exchange of the following statements released at the outset (Mamot, 1986: 69): “Listen to reason and stop this stupidity. ” – Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos (Malacanang Palace) “Mr. President, I hope you’re listening. Enough is enough. Your time is up. ” – Minister Juan Ponce Enrile (Camp Aguinaldo) “Stay put and wa