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Pro-Lim ad won’t politicize military

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:37:00 02/23/2009

MANILA, Philippines – A full-page advertisement declaring support for a detained Army general that was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) on Monday will not succeed in politicizing the military, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said.

The ad declared support for Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim and was signed by active duty and retired military officers, mostly those linked to past uprisings.

The former commander of the elite Army Scout Rangers, is detained and being tried before civilian and military courts over the November 2007 takeover of the Manila Peninsula Hotel and an alleged coup plot in February 2006 coup plot.

Recently, there has been talk that he is eyeing the possibility of running for public office in 2010.

“I think the intention [of the ad] is to politicize the Armed Forces, but everybody is right now focused on a role… I think the distraction posed by [an] advertisement of this kind is minimal,” Teodoro told reporters in Malacañang.

“I do not see this as a threat to the unity of the Armed Forces behind the chain of command. It’s been proven time and time again,” he said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita also played down the pro-Lim advertisement.

“They want to show solidarity with him. Other than that, pakitang ano lang yun [it’s just for show],” he said.

Teodoro refused to question Lim’s qualifications to run for public office, saying the Army general was of legal age, a Filipino citizen, and has not been convicted in court.

“So baka pwede pa siya [maybe he can run],” he said.

If elected, Lim will become the second detained military officer facing trial for alleged rebellion to hold public office, after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who was elected in 2007.

Trillanes, however, has not set foot in the Senate and is making do with attending to paperwork from his detention cell in Camp Crame.

Trillanes is on trial before two branches of the Makati regional trial court over the 2003 takeover by the Magdalo group of the former Oakwood luxury apartments and the 2007 Manila Peninsula occupation, which he led with Lim.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2009-02-23T09:02:51+00:00UTC02bUTCMon, 23 Feb 2009 09:02:51 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am02

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