Padilla named new Philippine Army communications panel head. Is he qualified?

August 20, 2020 - 6:58 PM
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Robin Padilla in an interview
Actor Robin Padilla sitting for an interview. (Photo from ABS-CBN PR)

Questions were raised on the qualifications of Robin Padilla after he was selected to head the communications panel of the Philippine Army.

Since July 8, Padilla and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had been members of the Philippine Army’s Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board. 

The PA-MSAB is a long-term partner of the Army that aims to connect the military to the public in terms of transparency and accountability.

Their oath-taking ceremony was also reported on the Philippine Army’s Facebook page.

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Padilla was elected as the new chairperson of its Strategic Communication Committee via a video conference last July 30.

Mainstream media only managed to pick this up last Wednesday, August 19.

In one of the reports, Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala told ABS-CBN News that it was former Army chief, retired Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto who nominated Padilla to the position.

Alberto was among the military men Padilla traveled with when he went to visit wounded soldiers in Sulu last July 2019 following the bombings there.

“To be fair to Robin, ayaw niya (sana). Sabi niya, kung puwede, ‘wag na lang ako kasi, you know, there’s politics, people think I’m a supporter of the President,” Zagala said.

He also noted that the military sees Padilla as a Muslim youth advocate who can influence them into “veering” away from terrorism.

Aside from Padilla and Duterte-Carpio, other current members of the PA-MSAB are Matteo Guidicelli, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Representatives Rufino Biazon and Ruwel Gonzaga, and Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

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The StratCom, meanwhile, is among PA-MSAB’s four committees. The rest are Governance; Resource Management; Review and Assessment; and Research and Education.

Is Padilla qualified?

While his fans welcomed his new role in the government, several Filipinos questioned his credentials to be deserving of it compared to other military personnel.

“Hindi naman sa pag-aano ha? Parang unfair yata sa mga Armies na naghirap sa training tapos mapupunta lang pala sa kanya,” one Twitter user said.

“Robin Padilla was a convicted Criminal, no proper training or knowledge and cannot even properly coherent himself then becomes the head of communication department of Army’s ATP,” another user said.

Another user also recalled that he was a former felon who was sentenced for eight years over illegal possession of firearms in 1994.

 

In 2016, Duterte granted Padilla an absolute pardon that restored his civil and political rights.

While he had a colorful career in the Philippine film and television industry, Padilla’s only background in the military was his training as an Army reservist in 2019.

His training came after Guidicelli also graduated from the Scout Ranger Orientation Course in the same year.

Padilla is a known supporter of Duterte and his administration’s policies.

The actor was recently criticized for his political views such as his support for the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, endorsement of Duterte’s children in Davao as well as his acting role as Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa in a biopic released in January 2019.

READ: Defending anti-terror law, Robin Padilla claims terror attack caused Lebanon blasts

What is MSAB?

The MSAB is part of the Army Transformation Roadmap, an 18-year comprehensive reform program of the Army, according to the ATR’s official website.

This new roadmap, in particular, is a “transformation and governance program largely based on the Performance Governance System (PGS), which is an adaptation of Harvard’s Balanced Scorecard framework into the local circumstances of the Philippines.”

The MSAB is to serve as an “advisory board” to the Commanding General, Philippine Army.

Its two main purposes are:

  • to promote the continuity and sustainability of the ATR
  • to encourage shared responsibility in the success of the ATR

There are no specific qualifications or criteria for choosing the board members.

The old board members, however, included names of some notable figures.

In the Philippine Army’s website, Samira Gutoc, former senatorial candidate and vocal critic of the administration, and veteran broadcaster Solita Monsod or Mareng Winnie were among the listed members of PA-MSAB.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Their names were no longer mentioned in succeeding press releases about the PA-MSAB’s activities.