Presidential wannabes ‘no show’ at PMA homecoming

By DateLine Philippines

None of candidates running for President in the May 10 elections showed up at this year’s Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming.

“They (presidentiables) have apparently listened to our call not to mix this event with politics and we are thankful for that,” General Victor Ibrado, outgoing AFP chief, told reporters at the sidelines of this year’s alumni festivities.

A week before the homecoming, the AFP and the PMA Alumni Association Board called on candidates attending the homecoming not to campaign inside the PMA, as well as in other military camps, bases and installations.

“This is meant to insulate the military from politics,” Ibrado said.

The call was apparently heeded. Unlike in past, when candidates showed up at PMA gatherings to muster police and military support for their political bids, no candidates for president or vice president was present at the PMA alumni homecoming celebration.

Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome, PMA Alumni Association president and Police Community Relations Group director, said, however that candidates might have been very busy with their campaign sorties.

“Nevertheless, they are welcome here,” Bartolome said. “Their respective classes may have missed them, but in spirit they are here.”

Bartolome is a member of PMA Class ‘80, the senior host class for this year’s alumni activities.

PMA Class ’80 has adopted Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, eldest daughter of the late President Corazon Aquino, as an honorary member of their class.

Senator Manuel Villar, Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer, and former Defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Lakas-Kampi presidential candidate, are but two of the 2010 presidentiables that have been adopted as honorary members of a PMA class.

Teodoro is an adopted member of the PMA Class ‘76 that includes in its roster outgoing AFP chief Victor Ibrado and Director General Jesus Versoza, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Villar is an adopted member of PMA Class ‘77, while President Gloria-Arroyo, who is seeking a congressional seat in Pampanga province, is an honorary member of PMA Class ‘78.

AFP public information chief, Lt. Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., said the absence of presidential bets in this year’s homecoming activity is a good sign.

“It’s a good sign that they respect the PMA as an educational institution and the AFP as a military institution,” said Brawner, who belongs to PMA Class ‘89.

But this year’s PMA affair was not totally without its share of candidates.

Sexy actress Ara Mina, who is running for councilor in Quezon City, added movie star glamor to the occasion. Also seen were re-electionist Senator Ramon Revilla and NP senate bet Ramon Mitra Jr. Anthony Vargas

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