Military Disputes Mrs. Aquino on Policies, Personalities With AM-Philippines-Ileto Bjt
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Friction between the Philippine military and President Corazon Aquino’s administration has led to a continuing series of political changes in Manila.
Here, in brief, is a look at objections raised by military dissidents to policies and personalities of the Aquino government:
Military men contend Mrs. Aquino has no coherent policy for dealing with the 17-year-old Communist insurgency. The concern is shared both by mutinous officers linked to Juan Ponce Enrile, who recently was removed as defense minister, and by loyal commanders.
They complain that the government in its early months failed to consult the armed forces on insurgency policy, that no clear guidelines on military strategy were drawn up, and that the government failed to put together a rural-development program, which was effective in countering pro-Soviet Huk rebels in the 1950s and 1960s.
MILITARY ROLE IN GOVERNMENT
Enrile and Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos spearheaded the revolt that ousted President Ferdinand E. Marcos last February and propelled Mrs. Aquino to power. But, despite this political debt owed by Mrs. Aquino, military men have been shortchanged in formulation of government policy, the officers believe.
LACK OF GOVERNMENT DIRECTION
The military contends that after nine months in office, Mrs. Aquino has failed to display the leadership needed to give her broad-based government a single direction. While she has been encouraging foreign investment, for example, her left-leaning labor minister, Augusto Sanchez, has spoken out forcefully for higher pay for workers and sanctioned a wave of strikes, discouraging U.S. and other foreign investors.
The military has demanded Sanchez’s removal.
Senior commanders believe their views have not been properly considered because of administrative bottlenecks at the presidential palace. They say that reports do not reach the president and that the decision-making process is flawed. They blame the presidential executive secretary, former human rights lawyer Joker Arroyo, for the foulups.
Arroyo is on the military’s ″must-go″ list.
INCOMPETENCE AND CORRUPTION
The military contends Mrs. Aquino and her followers have simply substituted one set of corrupt and inept officials for another. Officers complain bitterly about what they say is the poor quality of local mayors, governors and other administrators appointed by her local governments minister, Aquilino Pimentel. The armed forces accuse some appointees of open sympathies with the rebels.
Mrs. Aquino on Wednesday shifted Pimentel to another Cabinet post.
Commanders are concerned that longtime rights activists in the Aquino government are acting more zealously in pursuing human rights abuses by the military than in making Communist rebels accountable for their treatment of civilians.
Enrile and Ramos insisted that, since the government has released imprisoned Communist rebels, it should pardon soldiers who committed abuses in counterinsurgency operations in areas where many civilians are rebel sympathizers.