THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) dropped its plan to file a case against actress and political activist Mae Paner, more popularly known as Juana Change, for inappropriately donning a military uniform during a protest held last January 24.
Military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said AFP chief-of-staff General Eduardo Año had ordered a "thorough review" of Paner's case last Thursday after they received information that her intention was "not actually ridicule soldiers but even praise [their] sacrifices."
Padilla said the military also learned that Paner was clad in military uniform "in the interest of the arts, being a recognized comedian."
"Based on this information and other findings, the AFP will no longer pursue the case but calls upon Ms. Paner and other unauthorized individuals to henceforth desist from inappropriate use of our uniforms," Padilla said in a press conference.
Paner's photos went viral on social networking sites after she wore a military camouflage uniform during President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address (Sona) last July 24.
On Thursday, the AFP said Paner's "inappropriate" action violated Article 179 or the Revised Penal Code (Unauthorized Use of Uniforms) and Republic Act 493 (Prohibition of Use of Insignias, Decorations, Badges and patches prescribed for the AFP).
Following the AFP’s decision cancel its plan to file a case against Paner, Padilla said it should serve a lesson to her and to other people as well that the military’s camouflage is a “very sacred” uniform.
“She and the others must understand that the particular uniform she wore is the battle dress attire of our armed forces,” he said.
“It is the same uniform our soldiers wear whenever we go to battle, and the same uniforms many of our heroes die wearing in the battlefield, and in the defense of the motherland and our people. This is the very reason we hold this very particular uniform very sacred,” Padilla said.
Padilla also urged Paner to instead join the Army’s “patriotic” reservists, if she really wants to be government’s “most ardent partners for change.”
“If it is her desire to extol the sacrifice, gallantry, and dedication to duty of all our soldiers and help recruit more patriotic Filipinos to the armed forces, your armed forces is open to have Ms. Paner among the ranks of our patriotic reservist, who without hesitation, continue to be among our most ardent partners for change,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)