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Military Ranks Restive (Retitled with 3rd Update)

June 1, 2010

This will have a domino effect in the military hierarchy:

Presumptive president-elect Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said he was not inclined to reappoint Gen. Delfin Bangit as chief of the staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Aquino said he was “troubled” by reports of groups supposedly pushing for the Commission on Appointments to convene and confirm the appointees of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, among them Bangit, even with Congress still canvassing the votes for president and vice president.
“If memory serves me right, he was appointed on March 9, a day before the ban on appointments, and unfortunately the vacancy was on March 10. The issue of appointing somebody to a non-vacant position is automatic. So it seems like there’s a double issue here,” Aquino said.

Mr. Aquino is spot on here.

He knows Gen. Bangit’s appointment had not been ok’d by the 14th Congress’ Commission on Appointments so it will now fall on the reconstitute panel of the incoming Congress to pass upon the midnight promotions.

These include the other movements triggered by promotion of Bangit.

Apart from already moving into the official Camp Aguinaldo residence for the chief of staff, General Bangit has already positioned PMA Class ’78 mistahs of his  to key commands.

If Mr. Bangit is not reappointed, the dominos will likely follow.

As the incoming Commander-In-Chief mulls over this, it will be good check the midnight activities now afoot at Camp Aguinaldo.

Wagging tongues say these include new bidding activities for such supplies as military boot and rice.

Aquino’s men might want to check the logistics warehouses where undistributed rice stock are rotting along with boots imported from China.

You’ll be surprised what other shenanigans may be taking place while our foot soldiers starve and are die at the front lines.

1st Update:

True to form, the outgoing regime is seemingly in denial about the situation:

Press Undersecretary Rogelio Peyuan:

While she’s still the President, she’d want to see the Chief of Staff finish his term up to his retirement on July 31, 2011. That would be the desired scenario, although nothing would stop the next administration from reviewing this.

Mr. Peyuan at least acknowledges that his own statement is good only until June 30th at which date his very short stint also expires.

Ms Arroyo named Bangit, former head of the Presidential Security Group, as Armed Forces Chief on March 9, a day before the constitutional ban on appointments took effect.

Bangit has reportedly submitted documents necessary for his confirmation to the commission’s secretariat. He has yet to be confirmed by the body, which is composed of lawmakers.

If this is true, the good general must have failed to realize that the next Commander in Chief has the full prerogative to endorse his confirmation and no one else.

The general should stand down.

2nd Update:

Over the weekend this writer received information from multiple reliable sources about the following:

1. “Movements within the uniformed services with the intent of protecting the Arroyo status quo”;

2. Closet meetings among senior officers over 14th Congress’ Commission on Appointments bypassing the promotions of General Bangit and some 300 star rank military brass.”

Over in her blog, noted investigative journalist Raissa Robles is now reporting:

By today Monday (June 7), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will barely have any cabinet secretaries left to convene a cabinet meeting and will no longer have her favorite, favorite general Delfin Bangit at her official beck and call.

CA logoSenate President Juan Ponce Enrile is right. General Bangit’s term of office as Armed forces Chief-of-Staff has just lapsed. Enrile said Bangit is now considered bypassed because he failed to get the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Continue reading here:

3rd Update:

From my good friend Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya comes this note:

Let’s get our facts right: Gen. Bangit’s appointment was not ante-dated.March 10 was the retirement date of his predecessor, Gen. Victor Ibrado. That was the turnover date.

The 60-day pre-election ban started March 11.That’s easy to count. May 10 is election day. You count 60 days backward. March 10 is the cut off date.

By this, my understanding now is technically Gen. Bangit’s ascension to the top military post is not a ‘midnight appoint’ as first believed, plus the fact that his designation came as a result of his predecessor’s retirement upon reading the age of 56. Let’s more closely watch how the story plays out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2010 6:19 pm

    Hi Ding,
    Hope you don’t mind my joining in.

    After Ellen posted the comment, I checked the dates and here’s what I came up with:

    Thanks, Ellen. I rechecked the dates. Here’s what I found:

    1) Gen. Bangit was sworn into office and made a speech on March 10, 2010 – the same day Gen. Ibrado retired.

    2) But Malacanang Palace named Bangit as AFP-COS on March 9, 2010 and released the following news release that day which stated:

    ” Naming of new AFP chief, an exercise of commander-in-chief’s power
    Malacanang officials today said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was an exercise of her powers and prerogative as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, even as they expressed confidence Gen. Bangit will have the support of the whole military. ”

    3) the pre-election ban on appointments started also March 10 because Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution states that “Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election for President and Vice-President shall be held on the second Monday of May.” This year, the second Monday of May fell on May 10.

    Section 15 of the same Article VII states that “two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions etc.

    I just realized that Ellen used the phrase “60 days“, while the Constitution did not calculate the pre-election ban by days but by months.

    What’s the difference?
    If we calculate by months, which I did, I merely went back to two months before May 10 and this fell on March 10.

    But if we calculate by days, which Ellen did, the formula would be the following –
    60 days BEFORE May 10 would mean –
    May 1 to 9 = 9 days
    April 1 to 30 = 30
    March 11 to 31 = 21

    Add these all together and you come up with 60 days. Ellen is right. It fell on March 11 using this formula.

    However, we have to ask – Why did the Constitution count by MONTHS and not by DAYS when the framers knew well that the number of days varied depending on the month?

    My dad, who taught at UP Law, used to tell me that in interpreting the Constitution, one has to look at the statutory construction.

    In other sections of our Constitution, time is calculated precisely by the number of days – For instance, Section 19 of Article VI on the Legislative Department states that “The Electoral Tribunals and the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted within thirty days after the Senate and the House of Representatives shall have been organized…”

    The pre-election ban on appointments did not say ONE MONTH but 30 days, although in some instances one month is equal to 30 days.

    So maybe in this particular section on the pre-election ban, the framers wanted things to be kept simple so they said two months. Because the actual date of the election is movable since the second Monday of May may fall within a range – say from May 10 to May 14 depending on the year. If it falls on May 14, then the pre-election ban starts March 14, and so on.

    I’ll leave it to Fr. Bernas to explain.

    But the gist, I think, is that Pres. Arroyo intentionally dated Gen. Bangit’s appointment papers to fall OUTSIDE the pre-election ban, knowing fully well that the post of AFP COS would be vacated on the very day the pre-election ban took effect. Otherwise, if the pre-election ban really took effect on March 11 there would be no need for this rigmarole.

    However, now, we are talking about the same appointment LAPSING because of non-confirmation due to Congress’ adjournment. Ordinarily, Pres. Arroyo could just reappoint Bangit. But now, the problem is that the POST-ELECTION BAN on presidential appointments is in effect.

    Here’s her bind right now. If she reappoints Gen. Bangit during the post-election ban, then his appointment really becomes ONLY TEMPORARY and this means he is CO-TERMINUS with Arroyo. His appointment also lapses by June 30 and he’s gone.

    Usec Peyuan says Bangit will only retire in July 2011. And it is Arroyo’s hope that Noynoy Aquino follows that.

    This reduces everything to absurdity. Arroyo is actually appointing people to posts that should naturally be filled by those who enjoys the full confidence and trust of the sitting president.

    Thanks for the mention, Ding –


    • June 7, 2010 6:25 pm

      Yes, Raissa read nga your reply to Ellen’s comment. I’ve spoken to a former Dean of the UP College of Law and he agrees with you. This is why I tracked back to your post. Warmest regards, indeed. Are you on FB btw? Would like to share my number with yo sana. God Bless, always. Am at po.

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