Gen. Fabian Ver, the controversial chief of staff of the Philippine military who has been on leave while on trial in the Benigno Aquino murder case, took part in a meeting today at which senior officers discussed a "top-to-bottom" reorganization of the military, a government statement said.
The statement, issued by the presidential palace, included an ambiguously worded passage that might be interpreted as the first suggestion that Ver might not be reinstated even if, as widely expected, he is acquitted. A verdict is expected to be announced Wednesday.
The government statement said that Marcos has created a board of generals and colonels to prepare for the total reorganization of the Philippine military and that Ver took part in a meeting to discuss the plan. It remained unclear, however, whether he would become a member of the board.
Ver was asked, the statement said, if he would help in the reorganization of the military if he were not reinstated. Ver was quoted as saying: "I am willing to put down in writing that I will serve even in a consultant's capacity in the reorganization plan."
As the statement revealed some details of President Ferdinand Marcos' military reorganization plan, signs of discord were evident among the country's political opposition. The head of the umbrella group trying to unite opposition parties against Marcos resigned after a dispute with Salvador Laurel, widely seen as the leading opposition presidential candidate in a special election called for early next year.
The fragile unity of the Philippine opposition was threatened by the sudden resignation of Cecilia Munoz Palma, 72, as chairman of the opposition National Unification Committee today after a sharp exchange with Laurel.
Palma's resignation raised the possibility that there could be two separate opposition candidates instead of one to challenge Marcos in the election, which is now tentatively set for February.
Palma, a former Supreme Court justice and now a member of the National Assembly, charged that Laurel, 57, angrily demanded her resignation last Friday.