Celestial, Amadeuz Vincent John R.
The Wall Post
February 22, 2011
“It’s demoralizing the soldiers,” says Cpt. Xavier C Celestial, my father, a soldier, a loyal servant of the nation and member of the AFP. It is indeed demoralizing for any subordinate to find their leaders conducting misdeeds against them and their institution. The once very wholesome, most dignified, hero-like image of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has come to a breakdown. In a snap, the generals we have saluted and looked up to before have become enemies of the state – corrupt, unethical burglars and cheats.
Soldiery, they say, is the noblest of professions and the best way to serve the nation. It is the only institution that warrants its members to work and stay alert 24/7. Their motivation: military professionalism, the soldier’s epitome statement - ever loyal, solid, and selfless. But of all military values, the most emphasized among them is honor – the soldier’s crowning value, and considered more precious than life itself – and their unflinching loyalty to the AFP and the nation.
The AFP has always been a unique institution, their love for country, their passion for excellence and their unwavering obedience to what they call the “chain of command” are but a few of the distinct practices of the AFP. Obedience and loyalty being said here, is what’s being tested as of the current issue of corruption in the AFP.
Officers have always been loyal to their co-officers and superiors but as we can see now, the AFP has come to a different ground – generals “squealing” other generals, younger officials and ex-military officers disregarding the class system and the tradition of military courtesy, military men engaging in devious acts such as the “conversion” anomaly among other activities.
Corruption has long been a part of the Philippines’ “systems.” Families, schools, religious groups, LGUs, NGOs and the higher Government among other institutions have, for generations, been practicing some level of this ill-doing. But it is not fitting for the Armed Forces who are expected to be the loyal servants of the Nation to do something that can be considered treason.
“A cadet does not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do,” the credo where every soldier begins and ends has failed. Corruption has infiltrated the troops’ lines and what’s most painful about it is that the “virus” started from the “Head,” causing and making the entire body, the AFP as a whole, suffering, immobilized, and unable to react.
Nevertheless, some people find it necessary that these malpractices be exposed to the public, be heard and investigated upon, be resolved and acted about, and be eradicated. This is the only way that the AFP can rebuild its broken reputation. It will surely hurt the organization but it will be better that they try uncovering the issues. Admitting one’s faults will never be easy but it will, hopefully, achieve for the AFP a renewed public trust and confidence.
The president also looks at this issue in a positive light. PNoy sees it as an opportunity to introduce and continue the reforms in the AFP and showcase that the AFP has changed to a better organization under his administration. Among the reforms are:
• Organizational abolition of J6 (comptrollership office) and replaced resource management office, office of the internal auditor and management and fiscal office;
• Imposing a no conversion/cash advance system, devolution of funds particularly the provision for command directed activities (PCDA); and
• Leadership – by instituting the Daang Matuwid campaign of the Commander-in-Chief.
With this, the President, the AFP and the Filipino People, are on the lookout for the closing of the issue, ensuring that issues are addressed and the problems are resolved and making certain that the hero-servants of the Philippine islands remain honest and faithful to their duty. After all, soldiers are not really trained to become loyal servants of his superiors in the military or of the higher government officials, but to become loyal defenders of the Philippines, its constitution and its people.