SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday welcomed the apology of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over an erroneous list of UP students allegedly turned New People’s Army (NPA) published in an AFP-affiliated social media page.
“Ang pagkakamaling ito ay nakakabahala dahil senyales ito na kumakalat na ang unprofessionalism at pamumulitika sa AFP. Dapat natin tandaan na ang politicized at unprofessional armed forces noong panahon ni Marcos ang syang naging dahilan ng disunity at coup plots nung dekada 80 at 90. Tinatanggap natin ang apology subalit dapat seryusuhin ng liderato ng AFP na walang puwang ang unprofessionalism at incompetence sa ating AFP,” said Pangilinan, former UP University Student Council chairman and first voting Student Regent.
“Buti naman at nakita nila na hindi tama ang paglalabas ng ganoong mga pangalan lalo pa at hindi totoo at walang basehan. We welcome the apology. However, we reiterate that the AFP should ensure adherence to the strictest tenets of professionalism. Dapat may managot sa mga kapabayaang tulad nito,” he added.
On Sunday, the AFP Civil-Military Operations Office apologized for “inconsistencies” in the list of students who allegedly joined the NPA published in the Facebook page Armed Forces of the Philippines Information Exchange.
According to a fact-check by Rappler, at least 12 Facebook pages with links to the military shared the list on Thursday, January 21. The list was titled, “Some of the UP students who became NPA (died or captured).”
However, contrary to the content of the list, at least eight people whose names were mentioned are alive and have neither been captured nor proven to be members of the NPA.
“This is unprofessional behavior, and politicized men in uniform should never be tolerated. Apology is one thing, but taking action is another. If this goes unpunished, kung walang managot dito, posibleng mangyari lang ito uli. Paulit-ulit na lang. Bad eggs should never be left unpunished,” Pangilinan said.
This is not the first time the AFP published unvetted lists of alleged NPA on social media. Last week, a list of UP alumni allegedly recruited by the NPA was also posted by the same Facebook page.
A lawyer whose name was included in the list sought an apology from the AFP, to which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana concurred Sunday.
Pangilinan earlier released a statement saying that lies about UP “communists” undermine military professionalism.
“Dapat pahintuin at parusahan na ng military ang mga gumagawa nitong pag-re-red-tag. Dahil sa maling pag-label sa mga tao, nagiging target sila ng panggigipit at pinakamalala pa, pagpatay,” he said.