AFP to file charges against Major Juana Change over "inappropriate" or "illegal" use of military uniform

the viral photo stunt of Juana Change wearing the military uniform / credit to the photo owner

Manila, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Thursday that it will file a case against the activist named Mae Paner, popularly known as Major Juana Change. Paner was seen wearing a military uniform while on protest during the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of  President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday.

In a press briefing, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr., said that Paner “has inappropriately used our military uniform and disrespected it since she is not a member of the AFP nor a part of our reservists corps.”

Brig. General Padilla confirmed that necessary legal action will be taken against Paner. They won’t also ask the performance artist to stop using the uniform.

“because each time she wears it is counted as one more violation. Hence she is compounding her liabilities all the more.” The AFP Sokesperson added.

According to AFP what Paner did was a violation of Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads: “Illegal use of uniforms or insignia. — The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which he is not a member.”

Also it was another violation of Republic Act 493, which reads, “(I)t shall be unlawful for any person not in the service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Constabulary… to use or wear the duly prescribed insignia, badge or emblem or rank of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Constabulary, or any colorable imitation thereof.”

Meanwhile, in her Facebook account Paner posted that what she did was part of a performance art. 

“Hindi po ang uniporme ang pinuproteksyunan ng mga suklam sa akin sa paggamit ko ng military uniform sa aking performance kundi ang pinaka iniidolong presidente ng bayan. Salamat sa lahat ng mga nag abalang mag-isip, dumepensa at magbigay liwanag. ANG SINING NANGGIGISING,” her post said.

Paner also said that she will fight. 

“Kaya mahalaga ang sining. Galing mambuska. Galing manggising. Lumalanding,” She added.
Padilla suggested that Paner should read first the cited laws in order to understand why she is being held accountable for the said act.

The AFP also called on the public to report cases of violations and stop any unauthorized wearing of military uniforms.  

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