We never learn from history

May 16, 2009 by  
Filed under blogs

By Gloria Esguerra Melencio
My brother Samuel, a soldier in the Philippine Army, should have been 50 years old today if he was not killed in Bicol 10 years ago. He left a sickly widow and two small children who have been fending for themselves since then.

He was killed after seeking the State Witness Protection, he being a witness to his superiors’ murder of a businesswoman they tagged as a member of the New People’s Army. The Commission on Human Rights helped him dig the grave with the murdered woman’s family by his side.

He was a foot soldier who rose from the rank and promoted as a sergeant, but was demoted and assigned to another area where he was a killed a few months after his expose.

Just last week, Lieutenant Senior Grade Nancy Gadian of the Philippine Navy exposed the alleged “dirty pattern” of corruption by military higher-ups handling funds for the Balikatan exercises under the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement since 2007. She disclosed that the Philippine Navy has reported spending P46 million for the Balikatan but actually disbursed P2.3 million only in 2008. She dared the military to conduct a lifestyle check after her superiors accused her of spending the P2.3 million for herself. She called this “retaliation.”

Fearing for her safety and that of her two children, Gadian never reported back to the Philippine Navy after her official leave ended last April. Her superiors, in turn, issued an apprehension order, asking her to report immediately otherwise she will be stripped of her position and salaries.

Back in 1995, young Navy officer Philip Andrew Pestaño, fresh graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, was allegedly murdered because he was about to expose anomalies in the Philippine Navy. Pestano’s parents revealed in a letter which circulated in the Internet 14 years ago that their son had knowledge of military officials’ involvement in drug trafficking and illegal logging.

Pestaño was found dead, allegedly a suicide, inside his stateroom aboard a Philippine Navy ship while returning back to headquarters in Roxas Boulevard from Sangley Point in Cavite . His parents had been convincing him not to return to the service fearing for his safety after the son told them of his predicament.

In June 1899, General Antonio Luna was killed by Emilio Aguinaldo’s men, his fellow Katipuneros, for having a military strategy different from that of Aguinaldo’s and instilling strict discipline in the military. The “best general” the country ever had, Luna was strictly implementing the code of conduct in the military punishing those who were caught looting, raping or even not wearing the military uniform while on duty.

We never learn from history.



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