A MILITARY ORIENTATION
When I was a toddler, I used to brandish a sword and almost became a whizz in using it against imaginary enemies. Then plastic gun toys became my favourite as I grew older. When I reached tertiary level, I opted to join the Rangers instead of the usual drills I would be subjected to in the regular ROTC course. As a ranger, I was oriented on battlefield manoeuvres. I would eventually become an expert in close quarter combat, a specialist in explosives and handling any type of firearm, authority in strategic planning and skilled in survival techniques, I was trained to ignore pain and to endure every sting of a challenging mission in an unforgiving terrain. That was the military training I received.
My honeymoon with matters pertaining martial discipline however was cut short after my completion of the sophomore year. How I wish to enter the Philippine Military Academy but academic life was also an exciting field. Besides, like Napoleon Bonaparte, I was physically challenged standing an inch taller than diminutive Jose Rizal. I would never make it in the Academy no matter how assiduous and competent I was in combat education.
Not until I graduated that I longed to get conscripted in the military establishment even as a constable. But at that time, there was Martial Law and the excesses of the military could not escape my sensitive perception. I would rather join rebels in the mountains and be part of their armed militant movement than be a regular of an abusive military sector.
After receiving my graduate school credentials in the State University, I settled to get my employment in then Bureau of Prisons (now Bureau of Corrections) instead. I preferred professionalism in the civilian outfit tasked on a mandate of criminal justice administration, than engaging fellow nationalists in a genocidal mission. Officers in this organization have a similar principle and discipline like the Military anyway. It has an armed and uniformed component too. Ranking is almost perpendicular with that of AFP.
Years later, I would be promoted until I reached the rank of Penal Superintendent IV. In the government grading system, it is of equal rank to that of a Chief Superintendent in the National Police and that of a Brigadier General in the Armed Forces. Lo and Behold, finally at 33 years old I felt that I have made a difference. There I was in command of a prison establishment carrying the rank of a General. I had an immodest understanding that time that I was the youngest general in the career plank of government service.
From there I made a pact to myself. Government service will be my main focus, everything, including family and personal safety is secondary if not relegated to a corner. Sacrifice should be my main consideration and heroism would be my main instinctive world view. I could see myself standing tall along with generals in the military establishment. I could sense that I have also a similar ruthless vein running in my system when it pertains pursuing the ends of my agency’s vision. I was proud to be a part and within the ranks of generals in the country.
Not until I heard one of them would be charged for a violation. A retired general was heard to have said in the course of projecting himself in the court of law, thus: “I have no regrets of what I have done because what I did was for the good of the people. Why should I regret? One the case filed against me, it’s only natural for them to file one because they think, with all modesty aside, maybe in their minds, I was so successful in my campaign so they have to put me down they to put a stop and to add to that, nobody else can do what I did to them.”
These are brave and courageous statements coming as it were from a seasoned warrior. But wait.
The former military general was charged with Serious Illegal Detention and Kidnapping. Instead of facing his complainants and a host of aggrieved parties who were affected by his zeal in the performance of his duties, he hid.
“I went into hiding for self preservation. I fear the Reds are still out to kill me!”
Cowardice punctuates ever word this fellow is mouthing. A true warrior never relents, never retreats in any engagement. A true warrior is worth his salt if he is alone.
In the case of this officer, he was valiant, he was full of braggadocio and bold if only because he was secured by the machinery of power. Removed of such habiliments of force, the person is seen for what he is. In this case, the officer is merely an empty can pretending to be full.
Is this the kind of officer the military is projecting as their poster boy for courage? Has the military shrunk so low as to defend an officer who is afraid to die?
Let us listen to his fellow generals.
“The AFP is not abandoning a fellow General without violating regulations, we are willing to provide all the help he needs in terms of security.”
Although while on the lam, this general never for a while thought that he would be safe in their supervision.
The military academy sadly never trained their students to be warriors. Their graduates turned out to be better comedians.
I was correct all along. The military establishment is not where I wish to belong.