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If the President would ask support for a military junta, this general would say no.

A ranking military official assured legislators on Wednesday that he would reject a junta even if ordered by his Commander-in-Chief.

The issue of a possible military junta was raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson during the confirmation hearing for Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega at the Commission on Appointments' committee on national defense.

'My question is purely hypothetical. You are summoned by the Commander-in-Chief, one-on-one, no other officer of the (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is present, you're asked to support a military junta, how would you react?' Lacson asked.

'In such case that the current President is the one to ask me, I would...' Dela Vega said but he was cut by Lacson.

'It doesn't matter who the President is,' said the senator, reiterating that his question was hypothetical.

Responding to the question, Dela Vega said: 'I would deny the instruction, Sir, as it's against the laws of the land, Your Honor.'

Lacson thanked the nominee and said in jest that opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros would recommend his confirmation to the plenary.

Hontiveros, who was at the hearing , said she was nodding her head 'with full appreciation' when she was listening to Dela Vega's response.

'Your response this morning gives me that much more hope kahit sa kaguluhan na maya't-mayang kinalalagyan natin, that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will help stay the course for democratic and civilian led government so maraming salamat po sa sagot ninyo,' she said.

The panel later recommended Dela Vega's nomination along with other military officers.

The recommendation has yet to be adopted in the CA plenary.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 15, 2018
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