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Esperon: ‘Politics not in my plans’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:55:00 03/26/2008

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he has no plans of joining politics, despite his showing in a recent survey of possible presidential candidates in the 2010 elections.

Esperon placed 12th in a Pulse Asia survey in which Vice President Noli de Castro clinched the top spot.

He ranked higher than such personalities whose names were floated for 2010 as Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte.

“Entering politics is not in my plans. I’m not looking into that,” Esperon told reporters here, on the sidelines of his visit to the Armed Forces Western Command (Wescom).

Asked if he might change his mind come election time, Esperon said, before bursting into laughter, “We’ll see. Politics is a difficult topic.”

Esperon gained attention for his tough stance against military adventurism. He is also known to be politically well-connected, having served as security escort under former president Fidel Ramos, and commander of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He was also implicated in the “Hello Garci” wiretapping scandal that exposed alleged cheating operations that supposedly propelled Arroyo to a fresh six-year term in the 2004 elections. A military fact-finding board cleared him of the allegations but its report was never made public in full.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an ex-Navy lieutenant implicated in failed uprisings in July 2003 and November 2007, was in eighth place. The military chief shrugged this off, saying, “I’m not even thinking of Trillanes. All I know is that he has to face two court cases.”

Esperon said his showing in the survey shows that the public “must be thinking that the AFP is doing good.”

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-03-26T07:07:16+00:00UTC03bUTCWed, 26 Mar 2008 07:07:16 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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