By Alexis Romero
The Philippine Star
The Armed Forces of the Philippines justified yesterday its decision to deny Paranaque representative Roilo Golez entry to Camp Aguinaldo last Thursday, stressing that campaign materials are not allowed inside military camps.
“We never allow campaigning inside (the camps). We cannot let campaign paraphernalia enter our camps, including those placed in vehicles,” AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said in an interview yesterday.
“In fact, even our dependents are prohibited from bringing them,” he added.
The AFP spokesman said politicians or motorists should remove or cover up campaign posters or stickers plastered on their vehicles when entering military installations.
He said the AFP is strictly enforcing the nation camp rule after members of the Nacionalista Party led by its presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar were able to stage election-related activities in Camp Aguinaldo last February.
Villar, his vice presidential bet Loren Legarda, and their senatorial candidate staged a “unity walk” after visiting detained Col. Ariel Querubin, who is also running for senate under the Nacionalista Party. Vehicles bearing the party’s posters and stickers were also allowed entry.
Then AFP chief of staff Gen. Victor Ibrado said Villar’s camp violated the rule against campaigning inside camps.
Burgos said the decision of the military police to bar Golez, an opposition lawmaker, from entering Camp Aguinaldo has nothing to do with politics.
“We just want to implement the rules,” he said.
Golez was supposed to attend a memorial mass for his late mother in St. Ignatius Cathedral at Camp Aguinaldo but was denied entry because his vehicle had stickers of Liberal Party presidential bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
The lawmaker said his visit cannot be viewed as a political sortie since he did not have escorts. Golez threatened to file a complaint with the Commission on Elections, saying the camp commander violated his right to express his political preference.