BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
Two retired officers of the Philippine Navy said the eviction of retired Navy officers from the Bonifacio Naval Station would create another stir among the military.
Two retired officers of the Philippine Navy said the eviction of retired Navy officers from the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig last May 20 would create another stir among the military.
“While the Navy top brass tries to appease the young Navy officers by giving them their own quarters, the retired officers are being humiliated and driven off,” said retired Navy Capt. Prospero Maligalig in an interview with Bulatlat. This, Maligalig and another retired officer, retired Capt. Julian Advincula, believe will worsen the restlessness within the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A restive military
The widening crack within the Armed Forces of the Philippine was dragged into full public view as early as 2003 when young officers staged a mutiny in Makati, the country’s prime business district. Their leaders said they were ordered to bomb Muslim mosques and communities in Mindanao in southern Philippines.
Maligalig is the spokesperson of the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM) while Advincula and some of the retired officers evicted from the BNS are active RAM members.
RAM was involved in several coup attempts against the Aquino administration in 1987-89. Honasan, who is now in hiding after being linked to alleged coup attempts against the incumbent administration last February, is one of its founders.
Although he admitted to being present at the Marine Headquarters during the Feb. 26 Marine standoff, Advincula refused to connect the eviction issue with their alleged involvement in the coup attempts against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The six-hour standoff which involved some 150 heavily armed Marines backed by three APCs, was triggered by the relief of Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda. Although the situation was peacefully resolved after the officers involved reached “a gentlemen’s agreement”, analysts said it demonstrated the cracks within the military.
Not their fault
“Hindi kasalanan ng retired officers na walang matirhan ang junior officers ngayon,” Maligalig said. “It’s the hierarchy that has to answer for it.”
In a statement distributed to media, Advincula said the more than 47 has. Navy village was established as a private domain in 1965 through President Diosdado Macapagal’s Proclamation 461. It has become home to active Navy officers since then.
When news came out in 1991 that the government was planning to sell the area, the active and retired officers living in the area established the Naval Officers Village Association, Inc. (NOVAI).
NOVAI then applied for and obtained the land title (TCT No. 15387) on Jan. 9, 1992 from the Pasay City Registry of Deeds.
On March 13, 1992, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) was created to administer Fort Bonifacio, opening it to local and foreign investors.
The BCDA notified the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy in 1993 to vacate their quarters at BCDA’s expense but the Navy officers did not move out. On the same year the BCDA filed cases in court questioning the validity of the NOVAI title.
The next year, the Court of Appeals (CA) decided in favor of NOVAI, ruling that “the Philippine Navy, having no title to the land, cannot evict involved persons (members of the NOVAI).”
The Supreme Court affirmed on Oct. 25, 2004 the CA ruling on the validity of the NOVAI title. There are, however, other cases filed by BCDA against NOVAI that are pending in court.
Maligalig said the Navy has made public its plans to develop the NOVAI area, without consulting the organization. “That is peculiar because we are the owners of the property,” he said.
Both Maligalig and Advincula believed the eviction was illegal.
“Alam na nga nila na mayroon kaming titulo sa lupa, dapat pinagusapan na lang namin ito. (They knew we have the land title, they should have just discussed it with us.) The problem is internal, why should they humiliate us in public?” he asked.
Maligalig said the eviction issue will continue to create discomfort among the military as other retired officers in other army quarters shall be subject of eviction in the coming days.
“This has now become a national security issue and I tell you this is going to explode,” he said. (Bulatlat.com)