MANILA,  April 26, 2004
By Jess Diaz - Some 110 retired officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are supporting the presidential candidacy of opposition Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.

In a manifesto, the officers, who are alumni of the Philippine Military Academy and graduate of the Reserved Officers’ Training Course, said they believe that Lacson, a member of PMA Class ’71, is the "best choice for genuine and meaningful reforms and could best lead the country to recovery and progress."

"We pledge to act as guarantors that our cavalier (as PMA alumni are called) and friend Ping Lacson shall remain true to his program of government and to his mandate. Do not waste your vote. Vote for Ping Lacson for president," they said in their manifesto.

They also vowed to take all measures within the bounds for the law to guard their cavalier’s votes.

Among the signatories to the manifesto are former Army chiefs Rodolfo Canieso (PMA Class ’56) and Raul Urgello (PMA Class ’66), former PNP chiefs Recaredo Sarmiento (PMA Class ’66) and Cesar Nazareno (PMA Class ’56), Fidel Singson (PMA Class ’57), Alfredo Montoya (PMA Class ’51), Everlino Nartatez (PMA Class ’65), and Romeo Acop (PMA Class ’70).

Twenty-four classmates of Lacson who are now retired also signed the manifesto. They include Jaime de la Cruz (PNP), Danilo Francia (Air Force), Jaime Canatoy (Air Force), Rodolfo Vasquez (Army), Renato Paredes (PNP), Marcelino Malajacan (Army), and Jose Yarisantos (Air Force).

The retired officers said they "have spent the best years of our lives serving our country and preserving our democracy to the best of our abilities."

"Our principal concern now is to protect and preserve our beloved country for future generation of Filipinos," they said.

They said the country needs a leader "who can raise the bar for decency and morality, who has a clear vision about a better future for the Filipino and a workable plan to make this come true, who shall lead by example, who is willing to make the difficult and necessary, albeit unpopular, decisions for the common good."

Lacson possesses those leadership qualities and is worthy of the PMA Motto: Courage, Integrity and Loyalty, they stressed.

Lito Banayo, spokesman and political strategist of the former PNP chief, said the support expressed by his candidate’s comrades in the military and police service shows that soldiers and PNP personnel support Lacson.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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