On the appointment of Amboy General Brawner as AFP chief-of-staff

This article is available in Pilipino

Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr was appointed by Ferdinand Marcos Jr last Friday as the new chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Brawner replaces Gen. Andres Centino who was controversially reappointed to the position on January after refusing to retire when Marcos replaced him with General Bacarro in August 2022.

1. General Brawner is the third AFP chief of staff appointed by Marcos in less than a year. It shows that the revolving-door policy in the AFP remains, and declarations of “stability and continuity” in the AFP are nothing but empty talk, especially after Marcos amended the law allowing him to replace the AFP chief at any time. This allows him to satiate the ambitions of military generals who all seek the perks of the top position in the AFP and line their pockets with takes in the multimillion deals under the AFP modernization. Like all past presidents, Marcos will use the revolving-door policy in the AFP to promote patronage among the AFP generals.

2. General Brawner is a war criminal for being responsible for the killing under custody of NPA spokesperson Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris). He was directing the operation and was issuing orders when Madlos was seized by forces of the 4th Infantry Division in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon in the early evening of October 29, 2021, and summarily killed thereafter. He was also the one who hastily ordered the cremation of the remains of Madlos and his companion, in order to burn any evidence of torture and murder.

As head of the 4th ID, General Brawner is also behind the campaign of aerial bombing in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and the Agusan provinces which have caused widespread terror among the peasants and indigenous peoples.

3. The new AFP chief-of-staff is a loyal camp follower of the US. He is an alumni of the US Army War College, an institution operated by the US Department of Defense, for training leading officers of military organizations. Before serving as Army chief, he became chief of the 6th ID based in Zamboanga, and the 4th ID based in Cagayan de Oro, both Army divisions that are known to be firmly “interoperable” with US military forces in the Philippines.

4. Marcos directed General Brawner to “recalibrate” counterinsurgency operations, to “deliver services in geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities.” This directive is part of the Marcos regime’s push to allow mining companies and plantations to further expand their operations and also open new areas for infrastructure projects, ecotourism and so-called renewable energy projects. The main objective is to secure these investments which are being promoted by the US and the World Bank through various loan packages under its so-called “rural development.”

These projects being secured by the AFP invariably dispossess the peasant masses and national minority peoples of their agricultural and ancestral land, and destroy the environment and the people’s source of livelihood, in exchange for paltry amounts of “government service.”

On the appointment of Amboy General Brawner as AFP chief-of-staff