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‘Thank you for defending the Constitution’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:32:00 04/18/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thanked active and retired generals from the military and the police for being “defenders” of the rule of law and the Constitution.

“Sa patuloy na pagtaguyod ng AGFO sa ating Saligang Batas at mga proseso ng batas, maraming salamat [For defending the Constitution and the rule of law, thank you, AGFO],” the President said in a speech.

Arroyo was the guest speaker at the annual fellowship meeting of the 800-strong Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO), an organization of active and retired star-rank officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The President, with the help of her loyal generals, has stared down at least three coup attempts in July 2003, February 2006, and November 2007, sparked by allegations of massive corruption and election fraud.

Earlier this year, rumors of another coup attempt swirled amid allegations that the President, her husband, Jose Miguel, and ex-elections commissioner Benjamin Abalos Sr. pocketed millions of dollars in kickbacks from the botched national broadband project.

“And so I thank you, our retired generals and flag officers, because you have supported the rule of law. Because you have supported the constitution, we were able to make the tough decisions to raise revenues for our economy,” Arroyo said.

The retired officers also “inspired” those in the active service in their campaign against communist insurgents and crime, she said.

The guests at the Tejeros Hall in Camp Aguinaldo included retired generals in the Arroyo Cabinet: Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, and Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Retired generals holding government positions who were present at the affair include: Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) deputy general manager Angel Atutubo, Metro Rail Transit General Manager Roberto Lastimoso, and Visiting Forces Agreement Commission chief Edilberto Adan.

During her speech, Arroyo acknowledged former AFP chief Generoso Senga, the only chief of staff under her administration who was not given a government position after his retirement.

Senga was rumored to have wavered in her support for Arroyo during the alleged February 2006 coup attempt. Senga denied the allegation.

With Camille Diola, contributor

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-04-18T09:15:08+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 18 Apr 2008 09:15:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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