Año will make the country of, enforced disappearances, massacres, rights abuses – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao expressed wariness over the growing number of former military officials appointed to cabinet posts, with the latest, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Roy Cimatu as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary, and current AFP Chief Major General Eduardo Año as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary when he retires from the military on October.

“The president was catapulted to his post due to the democratic aspiration of the people, but his recent appointments involved those who advocate of authoritarianism, militarism, contempt of human rights,” Casilao said during a press briefing at the House of Representatives.

Casilao recalled that Año was involved with the abduction and enforced disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos in April 2007 during his stint as officer of the Intelligence Service Group operating with the 56th Infantry Battalion commander and was commander of 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army during the 2017 Paquibato Massacre in Davao City, where three lumad community leaders were killed and he branded them as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Año’s style is a classic authoritarian, he’ll kill or abduct first, then subject them to a massive black propaganda operations such as red-baiting, and in the case of being at the DILG, victims would be easily implicated with the drug war,” the lawmaker said.

The Anakpawis representative also expressed dismay on the increase in number of cabinet members who were retired military officials. Under the Duterte administration, there are at least nine cabinet posts which could be appointed with officials with civilian background but are occupied by former military and police officials: Gen. Roy Cimatu in DENR, Edgar Galvante in Land Transportation Office, Gen. Alexander Balutan in Philippine Sweepstakes and Charity Office, Jason Aquino in National Food Authority, Gen. Ricardo Visaya in National Irrigation Administration, Gen. Ricardo Jalad in National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management, Nicanor Faeldon in Bureau of Customs. ###