FILE PHOTO: Vice President Leni Robredo at the grand rally held at Plaza Quezon in Naga City on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the start of the official campaign period for national candidates in the May 9 elections. Photo by VPLeni Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — A number of retired high-ranking officers of both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are seeing the next commander-in-chief in Vice President Leni Robredo and expressed their support for her presidential bid.

In a short briefing on Monday, after Robredo met with the former PNP and AFP officials, two former spokespersons of the uniformed service  — retired PNP Maj. Gen. Generoso Cerbo Jr. and retired AFP Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan — gave some details of the meeting, and why they chose to support the Vice President.

Tutaan said that Robredo’s programs for national security encapsulate their aspirations for the country’s defense policies, like her stand on the West Philippine Sea issue.

“Yes, as individuals, in our own personal capacities, as individuals and as former colleagues in the AFP and the PNP, yes,” Tutaan said when asked if they are categorically supporting Robredo’s run for president. “We believe kasi the Vice President has the program of action that would address the various things regarding national defense and security.”

“Nakikita naman, if I may just read it aloud, ang kanyang programa sa seguridad […] is ‘isulong ang kampanya or karapatan natin sa West Philippine Sea, tutukan ang pangangailangan ng mga komunidad laban sa insurgency, this is to address the root causes of insurgency,” he added.

Cerbo, on the other hand, said that he and other former PNP officials see their aspirations on how the national police should function under Robredo’s platform,

“In a nutshell, ito po ay consultative meeting, ginagawa po namin ang lahat para makapag-share kung ano ang maitutulong natin sa kampanya ng ating Vice President, dahil nakikita po namin sa kanya ang katuparan ng mga gusto naming mangyari sa Philippine National Police noon,” Cerbo said.

“Isa na nga po doon sa napag-usapan ay kung papaano natin mapapalakas ‘yong mga institusyon na nagpapaganap ng kaayusan, which I believe ay isang importanteng aspeto ng ipinaglalaban po ng ating Vice President, ‘Angat Buhay Para sa Lahat’,” he added.

Early last month, several former AFP and PNP officials along with other cabinet secretaries who served under the term of late former president Benigno S. Aquino III vowed to support Robredo’s candidacy, saying that the country is in need of a competent president.

READ: Robredo gets support of former Cabinet execs, AFP chiefs, top envoys in Aquino admin

Since then, several government workers from past administrations — including that of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel Ramos — have announced support for Robredo.

READ: Robredo gets endorsement of 47 former Arroyo officials
READ: Robredo: True unity is endorsement from various groups, sectors

Tutaan said that aside from providing support, they are also informing Robredo about their views regarding national security, especially as the Vice President wants to hear the voices of all sectors involved.

“If you would look at that eight-point program, there is a portion there, ‘Angat Buhay sa Seguridad’, and that’s where we come in to make sure that, or to be able to give our inputs, alam mo ‘yong si Vice President very ‘kwan ‘yan eh, very inclusive. She really wants to get the ideas or the inputs (of) all sectors concerned, in order to come up with the best policies, guidelines,” he explained.

“There’s an aspect in security, sinasabi nga nila, ‘security is not a project’, hindi ‘yan ‘yong gagawin mo ‘to, ‘yan ‘yong deadline tapos na. Security is a process and that’s what she believes, and siya ‘yon ding aming ginagawa so that we can give inputs to her as far as this policy is concerned,” he added.

When asked how many retired AFP and PNP officials are backing Robredo’s candidacy for president, Tutaan said “there are a lot of them.”

“There are a lot of them […] there are former chiefs of staff of the AFP, there are former chiefs of the Philippine National Police, and us other officers, senior officers who have handled positions in the AFP and the PNP before,” he noted.

“Marami rin ‘yon, and it’s not only us here na nandito sa Manila, but there are also — naka-Zoom meeting kami rin kanina if you saw the short conference that we have, naka-Zoom meeting ‘yong mga retired generals from the provinces na nandoon, some come all the way from Nueva Ecija, meron din sa Visayas,” he said.


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