Aquino to PH military: Stay neutral
Aquino to PH military: Stay neutral
Aquino also sits beside opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay during the PMA graduation rites

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Despite endorsing and actively campaigning for Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, President Benigno Aquino III told the Philippine Military Academy’s graduating Gabay Laya Class of 2016 – and key officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines in attendance – to stay neutral as the elections draw near.

Bea Cupin reports.

BEA CUPIN, REPORTING: The farewells continue for President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday, as he addresses the Philippine Military Academy one last time.

Speaking before the 63 members of the Gabay Laya Class of 2016, Aquino talks about the military’s role in democracy, and remembers the armed forces’ dark days during martial law.

He thanks the armed forces for their role in his administration’s “Daang Matuwid.”

He also highlights the upgrades under his watch – 68 big-ticket projects worth P58 billion.

The modernization come at a crucial time for the country’s defenses. Tensions between the Philippines and China escalate as extremist ideologies threaten parts of the country.

He reminds the military to stay neutral as the election season heats up even if he endorsed a presidential candidate, Mar Roxas. In today’s graduation, Aquino sits beside opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Aquino has over 100 days left in his presidency. And here at the PMA, as in other speeches around the Philippines, the president tells his audience: leave the country a better place than you found it – a recurring theme from a president who’s confident about his legacy.  

Bea Cupin, Rappler, Baguio City.

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