BACOLOD CITY: A retired general frowned upon President Rodrigo Duterte raising the salaries and other incentives of the military and the police officers saying this may lead to abuse.
Retired Philippine Army general Raymundo Jarque said “too much attention” on the armed forces may lead them to become “abusive.”
He said that during the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos members of the Philippine Constabulary which later devolved to the Philippine National Police, and the military were pampered that they became so powerful and some of them perpetrated human rights abuses.
Effective January 1, 2018, the new entry level salary for both the military and police – police/fire/jail officer 1, a private, an apprentice seaman, or a seaman third class- is P29,668 from the P14,834 base pay.
They will have a two-tranche increase in 2018 and 2019, while some of the other ranks will retain their base pay when the modified pay schedule is implemented in 2019.
Doubling the salary of soldiers, policemen and other uniformed personnel has been one of the President’s oft-repeated promises.
Jarque said he had a bigger view of the situation of the country especially the difference between the economic elite and the masses after his retirement from the military service.
He was the behind the counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Thunderbolt in the Negros Island Command in the 1980s which had jurisdiction over some of the most feudal and most rebel-infested areas in the country.
In 1991 Jarque was accused of stealing a ton of prawns from the fishpond that the Peña family owned. He said he got caught in a vicious family feud when he and his men were merely helping the PC implement a court order reinstating Peña’s brother as administrator of their grandmother’s estate.
Magdaleno Peña, an “haciendero” (land lord) who had well-placed connections in the government and the military, apparently took it out on Jarque. He filed theft, graft and other cases against the general before the Office of the Ombudsman and vowed to send him to the National Bilibid Prison.
Suspecting that the scales of justice were tipped against him Jarque sought asylum with the New People’s Army (NPA) in the hills of Negros in 1995. The communist rebels welcomed him to their fold but not after many months of conducting a check on his background.
Jarqueled “Operation Thunderbolt,” the military’s seven-month counter-insurgency campaign in 1989 in the Chicks (Cauayan, Hinobaan, Ilog, Candoni, Kabankalan, and Sipalay) area of Negros Island, home to the first guerrilla front of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“Thunderbolt” resulted in the massive displacement of 30,000 villagers and the death of about 300 children, including infants.