He told a press conference here Tuesday that based on their memorandum of agreement with the Commission on Elections (Comelec), their mission will now be concentrated on enforcing the gun ban on election time.
He said they are no longer allowed to be involved in “securing candidates” and “transporting election paraphernalia.”
Esperon said they are happy for that because they can concentrate on their main missions, like the counter-insurgency operations.
“Our main mission during elections is to vote, for whoever every soldier wants to vote for,” he said.
But Esperon said the Comelec could still deputize the soldiers for deployment if there are serious armed threats in certain areas.
"But the Comelec will identify the specific names and units of the deputized soldiers. There will be no random deployment," Esperon said.
He said it will be on an on-the-need basis.
The reduction in the military's role in the election came after the military figured in the controversial “Garci tapes” which was used by the country’s political opposition to accuse President Arroyo of cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
Several high-ranking military officials, including Esperon, were allegedly involved. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)