From InterAksyon (Aug 28): Retired military officers buck recognition of rebels as heroes
Malacanang photo bureau
Several retired military and police officials on Thursday criticized the Aquino administration for implementing a law honoring as heroes and martyrs some communist rebels who were killed in battle by government troops from the 1970's and up to 1986.
Rodolfo "Boggie" Mendoza Jr., president of the Philippine Institute for Peace Terrorism Violence Research (PIPVTR) described R.A 10368 as a complete affront on the memories of soldiers and policemen who fought gallantly in defending freedom during the 70's, 80's and 90s.
"I cannot stomach this process that makes rebels out to be martyrs and heroes," Mendoza said.
"I'm not defending the Martial Law. That's debatable. The ones I'm defending are those who fought for democracy during those times," Mendoza said.
Mendoza, a veteran intelligence police officer, said that soldiers and policemen who are battling communist rebels should be the ones being recognized by the Aquino administration as heroes and martyrs.
"So what do we think our soldiers and policemen will feel now that the rebels they are fighting get to be recognized by this administration as heroes and martyrs?" Mendoza asked.
The retired police official said the NPAs have their own system of recognizing their own hereos, and the situation should be left at that by the government.
Mendoza quotes a text message from another retired army general: ”That is a disgrace to our soldiers who have dedicated their lives to the service and keep the peace we have today. It was the NPA who disturbed our country and society."
Mendoza and other former officers called on the administration to also recognize soldiers and policemen that defended the democracy those times.
Mendoza said he is willing to suffer a demotion in rank and return all of the medals and honors he earned when he was still in the police service.
"I respect the law and I'm willing to do that, as long as they can prove that I have committed human rights violations," Mendoza said.
He suggested that what the government should do is enact a law that would provide just compensation for soldiers and policemen who fought against the rebels in defending the democracy.
We should recognize the hundreds of soldiers and policemen who were killed in encounters with the rebels, not the other way around, he stressed.
Another retired police official, Frank Villaroman, said the law might even end up presenting the wrong model to the youth: "Are we telling them that it's OK to go up to the hills and fight the government?"