Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has asked the Armed Forces to reinstate two generals who were relieved from their posts following the release of an “erroneous” list of University of the Philippines students who allegedly became New People’s Army members.
In a statement, Lorenzana said he made the request after “exhaustively” reviewing 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 U.P. students who have been linked with left-leaning groups,” he said.
The defense chief, however, was quick to clarify that he was not completely clearing Arevalo and Luna of liability.
“In fact, they were punished under the principle of command responsibility,” he said.
This comes “with the stern warning that similar incidents cannot and should not happen again in the future,” the defense chief said.
“Naniniwala ako sa second chance, 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.”
Lorenzana himself ordered the relief of Luna as deputy chief of staff for intelligence on January 28, saying the faulty list, which he even showed at a press briefing, had originated from the latter’s office.
Arevalo, whose office released the list in public, was relieved as deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations on January 29.
He took responsibility for what he called a mistake by his staff, and offered to go on leave.
Luna and Arevalo’s deputies took over as acting chiefs of their offices.
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