By Raïssa Robles
The last thing I expected to hear from the general was a very colorful description of President Rodrigo Duterte’s way of governance. He called it a “bukbok presidency”, in the course of telling me why Senator Antonio Trillanes’ crimes were no longer “court-martial-able”— his word.
Almonte made it clear to me that he spoke for no one but himself.
During Ramos’ time, Almonte was the keeper of the President’s image. He nipped brewing trouble in the bud before they got bigger. But he also made some big trouble himself, like Operation Big Bird. This covert operation tried to get the Marcos wealth from a Swiss bank, causing the Swiss government to issue a unilateral freeze on Marcos Swiss accounts.
Probably one of Almonte’s biggest contributions to the country was the breakup of the monopoly of lone phone company PLDT.
Here is an excerpt of my story in South China Morning Post (HK) which appeared tonight. You can read the full article by clicking the link at the end of the excerpt. It will take you to the SCMP site.
‘Difficult for my common sense to accept’: former Philippine general slams Duterte’s move to abolish critic’s amnesty
Jose Almonte said president’s attempt to abolish amnesty for rebellious senator was ‘unjust’, since he had already served time for the crime
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 7:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 7:51pm
Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque may have spoken too soon when he said a paid newspaper advert calling Senator Antonio Trillanes “a disgrace” to men in uniform “reflects the overall sentiment of the military”.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been trying to scrap Trillanes’ amnesty for two coup attempts against former president Gloria Arroyo.
The September 14 advert said a southern chapter of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association wanted the senator removed from its roster for the failed coups. Roque said the advert shows Trillanes has no support among active or retired officers.
But a prominent association member disagrees.
Retired general Jose Almonte, who was close aide to former president Fidel Ramos, is unhappy with Duterte scrapping any amnesty. Almonte called Duterte’s government “a bukbok presidency”. The Tagalog word “bukbok” means full of weevils and was recently in the Philippine news after Duterte’s agriculture secretary denied there was a rice shortage and told the public it was safe to eat the bukbok-ridden rice being sold by the state.
Almonte said Duterte’s reasons for voiding Trillanes’ amnesty and ordering his arrest and court martial were “difficult for my common sense to accept”.
To read the rest, please click on this link.
Trillanes court martial could trigger military instability
Retired General Jose Almonte calls Sen. Trillanes “a patriot”