Bayan Muna to General: Show Arroyo order authorizing AFP poll

Apr. 28, 2007

MANILA — Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casio today challenged the military’s commander
for the National Capital Region to present a written and explicit
order from the President authorizing deployment of soldiers in Metro
Manila and for what purpose.

“The Constitution requires the President to call the military to
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Without such an
order from the President, and without the presence of such
constitutional conditions, Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino and troops deployed
across Metro Manila must all shut up and return to barracks pronto,”
said Casio.

“Not only is Metro Manila off-limits to the military except on
explicit orders of the President; Voter education is not the
military’s job,” said Casio.

Bayan Muna General Counsel Neri Javier Colmenares said
that a petition
questioning the constitutionality of the troop deployment in Metro
Manila may be filed next week before the Supreme Court.

Article 7 Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states: “The President
shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines
and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces
to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”

“Mrs. Arroyo should end her silence over this issue and speak out
whether she has authorized the Armed Forces to go around Metro Manila
to campaign against oppositionist and militant partylist groups and to
hold so-called election seminars,” said Casio. “Keeping silent means
tolerating this ongoing assault on the Constitution and civil

Casio warned Dolorfino that “the military’s deployment in Metro
Manila and its engagement in election issues may appear to be
protective of President Arroyo, but in
reality, the military is
opening the President to possible impeachment on account of culpable
violation of the Constitution.”

“Dolorfino now claims that there’s nothing wrong in holding election
seminars. In fact, everything’s wrong with it,” said Casio. ###

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