Sotto now an army reservist

SENATOR Vicente "Tito" Sotto III is now a reserve officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, adding to the growing list of politicians in the military's reserve force.

Sotto took his oath as a lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve force on Friday morning in rites presided by Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista in Camp Emilio Aguinaldo.

AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said, Sotto had been commissioned in the 1980s as a reserve officer of the now-defunct Philippine Constabulary, with a rank of major.

Sotto resigned from his commissionship in the constabulary to become a member of the Army reserve corps, Zagala said. He also said Sotto's commissionship was approved by President Benigno Aquino III.

Zagala quoted Sotto in his speech that he was "very much honored and privileged to be a reserve officer of the Army." Zagala said Sotto also mentioned about reserve officers being "duty bound to defend our country."

The military official said Bautista was impressed by Sotto's "patriotism" by choosing to become a part of the military reserve force.

Zagala said Sotto can help the AFP in the legislation of military-related measures, including budget.

"Senator Sotto is already part of the AFP and him being part of the AFP, he will push for the agenda of having a credible defense...He is already part of the AFP, so his serve as senator and as a member of the AFP will intertwine," added Zagala.

In times of conflict, reservists are tasked to organize and to prepare for war. Zagala said that since it is peace time, reservist can help in other field, including disaster response.

The AFP chief donned the rank on Sotto. "After the donning, Senator Sotto gave a snappy salute to the chief of staff," said Zagala.

Many other politicians have been commissioned as military reserve officers, including Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Loren Legarda, and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao.

The list also includes former Senator Manuel Villar, former senator Ramon Magsaysay, former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan, former defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, Albay Governor Joey Salceda, and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista. (VR/Sunnex)
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