Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa warned on Saturday that he would not allow the military to revert back to the practises of the past, a day after he fired the high command over alleged wrongdoing.
“This has been very painful for me, you all know that in that Combined Command I had great personal friends, but there are things that cannot be accepted,” he said on his weekly television show, Citizens Link, filmed in the province of Guayas.
“I am the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and I will not allow anyone to disobey me.”
Correa said the generals who had been dismissed—and later replaced—issued a statement on Friday over the alleged overcharging for land they sold to the Ministry of the Environment for some US$41 million.
When the Correa administration confronted the leaders about it, asking for a refund, the head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, Luis Garzon, accused the government of depriving the military of money, especially for pensions.
“I will not allow them to return to the practises of the past. Look for any country in the world where military personnel go out on the (television) screen from the Ministry of Defense, using resources from the Ecuadorean people, talking about administrative, legal things, that are not up to them … they have sworn loyalty to the Social Security of the Armed Forces (Issfa), I didn’t know that that was an additional oath, I thought that loyalty was with the country,” he added.
The president went on to explain in detail the reason for the mass dismissals.
“This is the product of the purchase of land that Issfa had and that we required for Los Samanes park, but instead of selling it at the value of the land register, as the Public Contracting Law states, they sold them at a price various times greater than their value. We have been discussing this overpayment for years, because there are still lands that we have to buy from Issfa for Los Samanes park,” he said.
He said that Issfa requested the State Attorney General to rule in their favor. Because of this, Correa announced that he would not tolerate disobedience and would instead look to uphold the common good, justice and the law.
Correa said the military officials are permitted to go out in public to talk about technical and emergency matters, with permission from the Ministry of Defense.
In the case of the dismissed military leadership, they tried to contradict their Commander in Chief and “being inaccurate, saying that the Constitution is broken, that it has been an abuse," Correa added.
On Friday evening, Correa announced who would take over as the military's top officials.
Oswaldo Fabián Zambrano Cueva replaced Luis Anibal Garzon as chief of command of the armed forces, the new navy general will be Angel Isaac Sarzosa Aguirre, and Cesar Abdon Merizalde Pavon was named as the air force chief.
Luis Miguel Angel Castro Ayala takes over as ground force commanding general.
WATCH: In 60 Seconds: Correa Sacks Military High Command in Ecuador