WE OFTEN think of the lives of military men as nothing less than exciting, and the one led by retired Brig. Gen. Raymundo Jarque does not disappoint, although it had some unexpected and confusing twists. From a young lieutenant assigned to Mindanao to face the Muslim secessionists in the 1970s, he went on to become a military commander fighting a raging communist insurgency in his home province, then a fugitive from justice seeking sanctuary among the very rebels he fought, and later a consultant to them in their peace talks with the government. Had the local film industry not been in the doldrums, there would probably have been a movie based on his action-packed life by now.
HIS JOB title was impressive enough: aide de camp and executive assistant to the interior and local government secretary. It was, however, a deskbound posting that consisted mostly of shuffling documents needing his boss’s signature. That was a decade ago, and Cesar Binag was then a young police captain fresh from a stint with the elite Special Action Force (SAF) that battled coup plotters and insurgents. To Binag, who was trained in the Philipppine Military Academy (PMA), his new assignment was boring. Or at least that’s how it seemed at first.
THE GHOSTS of the last elections haunt Lanao del Sur and they refuse to rest. They will not go away. They flit about, seeking resolution. So when Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani, the commander of the Marine brigade stationed in the province during the last election, testified in the Senate in September, saying that he had been mysteriously relieved from his post two clays after the voting, the ghosts were roused again. Days after the Senate hearing, Gudani and one of his officers, Marine Lt. Col. Alexander Balutan, were sent to court martial for refusing to heed their superiors’ orders not to testily. The ghosts, having been roused, are now rattling even more noisily than ever before.
Through the years, the Philippine armed forces have provided Moro and communist rebels a steady supply of guns and ammunition.
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