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 wait for instructions.
We will get in touch with you. ” – General Fidel V. Ramos (Camp Crame)In the case of President Estrada, his ouster from office was realized through the collusion of his former Vice President and now President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the AFP Chief of Staff and now Secretary of Energy, Angelo T. Reyes (Joaquin, 2002: 227-228). In short, “the Philippine military—and one may throw the police in with it—is the most unreliable of allies” (CenPEG, 2005). Based on the foregoing, it is clear that the degree of the AFP’s involvement in politics is not merely confined within the legal parameters of ‘military influence’ but rather goes beyond, reaching the level of ‘military participation’ in politics through a close partnership with the present political administration in power. C.
Military Control (With Partners)In “military control” of politics, the equilibrium has been shattered, thus civilian control of the military has disappeared. In this situation, the civilian government no longer has the capacity of defining the functions and overseeing the limits of the military’s authority, thus the supplantment and displacement of government, which clearly differentiates “military control” from “military participation. ” Though still in extensive partnership with the military, the civilian government is now the one being administered to and controlled by the military, most often in very discrete means while remaining partly behind the public scene. (Welch, 1976: 4). In Finer’s words, “…the military often works on governments from behind the scenes…” (Finer, 1962: 4).Fortunately, for the Philippine government, military intervention in politics has never gone this far except for a number of alleged preliminary intentions of establishing a military junta had past coup attempts succeeded or had the military thought otherwise in the aftermath of the past two People Power uprisings. During the quest for the recapture of former Army colonel and now Senator Gregorio Honasan after his escape in April 1988, the military was convinced, as claimed by former National Capital Region District Commander and now Senator Rodolfo Biazon, that the former had planned with retired and active duty officers to establish a military junta which could have governed the Philippines at some unspecified date had they succeeded in seizing power (Selochan, 1989: 1-2).Towards the days leading to the culmination of the EDSA Dos People Power uprising, which toppled down former President Estrada from office, Rene Corona alleged that the military initially considered a constitutional “bypass” of the former Vice President.
Nick Joaquin narrates: “…But there was this group saying: No, not Gloria, she is an Erap discard. And this group wanted a civilian-military junta to take over. The result would have been Johnny Ponce Enrile sitting in that junta as the civilian leader, with the uniformed pals he had picked as the military component. My perception was that the junta would simply have been a power grab by Enrile and Honasan. ” – Rene Corona (Joaquin, 2002: 221). ”It was November when we learned about this Junta in the making; and that was the November when we really didn’t know whom to believe, what to believe. ” – Rene Corona (Joaquin, 2002: 222). ” D.
Military Control (Without Partners) A second variety of “military control” occurs when the military establishes a military junta where government leaders are drawn from the military ranks, utilizing civilians in minor and subordinate positions. Fortunately, despite tendencies of developing countries towards “military control” of politics, the Philippines has never been under a military junta and remains as one of the few exceptions (Welch, 1976: 5). Based on Finer’s observations, “overt military rule is …comparatively rare, and, apparently, short-lived” (Finer, 1962: 4). V.
ConclusionIn the final analysis, after going through the different forms of military intervention in politics and after attempting to paint the landscape of politics in the AFP, it can be concluded that the AFP, in Meier’s words, is indeed engaged in ‘politics of the first order’ (Frederickson and Smith, 2003: 41). However, as contended by Welch, the military’s involvement in politics is “a question not of whether, but of how much and of what kind” (Welch, 1976: 2). Therefore, deciding as to what form of intervention is the more critical angle and in effect completes the entire analytical picture. Based on Welch definition, it can be deduced that the AFP’s current political involvement is not merely that of “influence” but that of “participation. “Military participation” appropriately describes the extensive partnership of the current administration with the military, which has begun since EDSA Dos. The unsuccessful EDSA Tres in 2001, the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003, and the unabated series of destabilization plots against the Arroyo government has further strengthened the bond, forcing the government to rely heavily on the military for stability, thus giving the military not just influence but participation in government affairs, as indicated by the appointment of a considerable number of retired AFP and PNP chiefs, who have served the current administration, in sensitive civilian government posts. VI.Final Thoughts The present government, besieged by threats from all sides, has effectively utilized the military in projecting political strength and in countering threats from its political adversaries.
However, too much dependence on the military for security and political stability, may in certain occasions, has its downside. In the course of projecting a “strong republic,” respect for human rights of political adversaries may be at risk of being compromised. Incidentally, at present, the government faces a barrage of criticisms from various local and international watchdogs for the high incidence of political killings (Amnesty International, 2006).Secondly, in its desire to accumulate political power, the ruling government at times allegedly fails to observe the ‘non-partisan’[ix] nature of the military during elections, thus investigations on suspected electoral fraud involving military personnel becomes part of the national agenda in the aftermath of every election. Incidentally, the Senate has recently reopened the investigation on the “Hello Garci” wiretapping controversy, which unfortunately implicates a number of current top AFP officials in alleged electoral fraud in the ARMM during the 2004 presidential elections (The Manila Times, 2007). Unfortunately, though the desire to shield the AFP from the shifts of politics after every national election remains reputable, this idea remains elusive for as long as political leaders fail to differentiate the proper concept of the AFP as the servant of the nation from that of as an instrument of a political party (Howard, 1957: 30).Moreover, in view of the precarious situation of the current administration, the basis for selection and appointment of senior officers to top AFP positions may evolve from meritocracy to loyalty to the appointing authority. Unfortunately, if loyalty to the appointing authority takes precedence above anything else, then the bureaucratic principle of ‘merit and fitness’[x] is sacrificed.
Furthermore, as more and more retired military officers are appointed to top civilian posts, morale and effectiveness within the ranks of career officials in the bureaucracy may decline, as demoralization and complacency begin to sip in. Lastly, as the civilian government becomes more and more intertwined with the military, prosecution of wrongdoings of key military officials may become difficult (PCIJ, 2006) and in some instances, violations may be tolerated.In closing, ‘military participation’ in politics is seen to be more detrimental to our democratic way of life than its noble intentions of maintaining national security and political stability in government.
This predicament mirrors the American dilemma on the destructive consequences of the political power of the US military-industrial complex on fundamental democratic principles and on mankind’s survival (Galbraith, 1969). Despite its avowed desire of maintaining professionalism within its ranks, the AFP officer corps is hard pressed from doing so as it serves a Commander-in-Chief whose legitimacy is persistently being questioned and whose tenure is often haunted by destabilization plots. Hence, ‘military participation’ in Philippine politics will persist for as long as political legitimacy remains wanting. Endnotes ———————– i] Section 3, Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution – “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory. ” [ii] ‘Apolitical’ is defined as having no interest in politics or as having no political relevance or function (http://en. wiktionary. org/wiki/apolitical – 22 July 2007). [iii] “Militics” is another word for military politics. It is commonly used in informal military conversations.
[iv] A “flag officer” is the equivalent of a general in the navy. v] Corporate interests, in its most basic definition, may mean no more than the military’s concern for pay and fringe benefits, conditions of service including promotions and assignments, and the availability of facilities, new weapons, and training opportunities (Sundhaussen, 1982). [vi] Republic Act No.
9188 – “An act strengthening the professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines by increasing the percentage distribution of generals/flag officers in the AFP Table of Organization, amending for this purpose Republic Act numbered eighty-one eighty-six (R. A. 8186), and for other purposes. ” [vii] Section 5, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution prohibits members of the armed forces in the active service from being appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government including government-owned or -controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.
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wikipedia. org/wiki/Oakwood_mutiny 2007c2006 State of Emergency in the Philippines. http://en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/2006_state_of_emergency_in_the_Philippines Annotated Bibliography 1. Could the Military Govern the Philippines? Viberto Selochan.
c198952 pp. 142 x 220ISBN 971-10-0399-6It answers the question on why the military has not governed the Philippines despite the presence of factors that precipitated coups in other developing countries. It is a comparative literature on civilian control of the military in the Third World and an analysis of political change in the Philippines.
2. Historying Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Nick Joaquin. c2002258 pp. 155 x 235 It is a vivid profiling of the family of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and an extensive narration and analysis of her life from childhood to her ascension to the presidency of the Philippines. 3.
How to Control the Military John Kenneth Galbraith. c196969 pp. 148 x 215LCCCN: 79-90919This is a book about the development and power of the military-industrial complex in the US and on what can and must be done to control the military establishment and ensure the survival of the American society, of fundamental democratic principles, and of mankind itself. 4. Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam War Robert Buzzanco. c1996386 pp. 156 x 235ISBN 0-521-48046-9 This book presents an analysis of 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. 5.
People Power Patricio R. Mamot. c1986208 pp. 142 x 219ISBN 971-10-0295-7It presents an analysis of the forces that shaped the success of the People Power and reflects on historical and political considerations central to the understanding of the transformation of this abstract phenomenon into action. 6. Soldiers and Governments: Nine Studies in Civil-Military Relations Michael Howard. c1957192 pp. 145 x 220 This book presents a vivid description and an in depth analysis of the political issues confronting civil-military relations from the nineteenth century to the post war era within major military powers in Europe, Asia, and America and the lessons that can be learned from the discourse.
7. The Man On Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics Samuel E. Finer.
c1962268 pp. 205 x 245LCCCN: 62-18683 The book theorizes on why the military refrains from intervening in politics despite its political advantages.It argues that there exists a distinct class of countries where governments have been repeatedly subjected to military interference and that the military, as an independent political force, constitutes a distinct and peculiar political phenomenon. 8. The Public Administration Theory Primer H. George Frederickson and Kevin B.
Smith. c2003279 pp. 200 x 255ISBN 0-8133-4071-3 The book is a modern systematic synthesis and an updated chronological ordering of theories and findings from scholarly journals and famous writings in Public Administration showing the discipline’s active and eclectic search for reliable theoretical frameworks as useful guides for policy-making and public policy implementation. 9.
The Road to Power: Indonesian Military Politics 1945 – 1967 Ulf Sundhaussen. c1982304 pp. 155 x 254ISBN0-19-580467-8The book traces the gradual evolution from 1945 of the worsening disagreement between military and civilian elites in Indonesia until the eventual take over of General Soeharto when President Sukarno was ousted from office in 1967.
It primarily focuses on the failure of the civilian political leaders to resolve political, ideological, and economic problems as precipitating factors in the Indonesian Army’s intervention in politics. 10. The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations Samuel P. Huntington. c1957534 pp. 151 x 233ISBN 0-674-81736-2 It provides a theoretical framework as a way of understanding civil-military relations, which aims to maintain civilian control through the complex equilibrium between the authority, influence, and ideology of the military on one hand and the civilian government on the other.