MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday requested the reinstatement of two ranking military officials who were ordered relieved from their commands following an erroneous list of University of the Philippines (UP) students who were reportedly killed by state security forces after joining the New People’s Army (NPA).
“I have exhaustively reviewed the case involving Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo and Maj. Gen. Alex Luna. From the reports submitted to me, I believe that both men were not directly responsible for the lapse over the publication of the unverified and unofficial list of UP students who have been linked with left-leaning groups,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.
Luna was ordered relieved from his post as AFP deputy chief-of-staff for intelligence or J-2 effective January 28 while Arevalo, then head of the military’s civil-operation group or J-7 went on leave on January 28 as not to influence the investigation into the incident.
“I am not completely clearing them of liability, in fact, they were punished under the principle of command responsibility. Their track records would show that they have always performed their duties conscientiously and competently,” Lorenzana said.
Earlier, the military apologized for those who were inadvertently affected by inconsistencies regarding the list of students who joined the NPA (died or captured) that was posted in the AFP Information Exchange Facebook account.
The post has since been immediately taken down or deleted from the military’s social media accounts.
“Having said this, I have requested that the AFP reinstate Maj. Gen. Arevalo and Maj. Gen. Luna to their previous commands, but with the stern warning that similar incidents cannot and should not happen again in the future,” Lorenzana said.
“Naniniwala ako sa second chances, lalo na kung nadamay lamang naman sila sa pagkukulang at pagkakamali ng iba. Bigyan natin sila ng panibagong pagkakataon na patunayan ang kanilang katapatan sa kanilang tungkulin (I believe in second chances, especially if they were just dragged by the errors and inefficiency of others. Let us give them another chance to prove their loyalty to their duties),” he added. (PNA)