Balutan not relieved from post, says AFP

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THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has neither reprimanded, censured, relieved nor imposed any form of punishment against Marine Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan over his Facebook post expressing his disappointment over the misuse by some lawmakers of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel fund.

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“He is not relieved,” Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said on Wednesday even as he stressed that Balutan and other men and women in uniform should always remain apolitical and non-partisan.

Zagala explained that what Balutan posted in his FB account was his private sentiment intended only for his family and friends and not for public consumption.

“It is a personal sentiment and it was taken out without his permission,” Zagala added.

Zagala stressed though tha members of the Armed Forces should be careful in making statements no matter how justifiable the issue is as it can be misconstrued by the public as a breach of military discipline.

In his Facebook account, Balutan posted: “[I am totally disheartened when I remember the bloody war in 2000 in Central Mindanao where only 175 Marines were left out of the battalion that I led after the final battle at Camp Abubakar. This was after we overran three big MILF camps in over three months of fighting in three provinces [Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao]. Everyday we stare at death, many of us gave our lives and were wounded in the faithful obedience to the sworn duty to defend mother country. So disheartening].”

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