Shoot down coup rumors

ATTEMPTS to unseat President Aquino may not just be rumors after all.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa has now confirmed that there were moves by some groups to oust the President during the former’s visit to the AFP Central Command in Cebu last Thursday.

These groups, which Dellosa did not identify, have purportedly launched an information campaign seeking the President’s ouster from office. He, however, did not elaborate the anti-Aquino information drive or how such moves have penetrated the military’s camp.

Ten days ago, during the 26th anniversary of the Presidential Security Group, Dellosa was surprised when the President bared a supposed plot to oust him by groups who want him out of office so that “they can bring back the old system where they amassed huge amounts of money.”

According to AFP Spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., they have not received any intelligence report about a coup plot, stressing that the AFP remains a professional unit and does not have any credible issue to remove the President from office.

At least three lawmakers – Sen. Antonio Trillanes, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and Rep. Rodolfo Biazon – confirmed that some retired officers allied to the former President Arroyo were recruiting soldiers for a move to oust the President.

According to Biazon, these groups were using the “red scare” tactics to recruit junior and middle grade officers as early as three months ago.  Speaking as a matter of fact, Trillanes and Biazon said there were dinners or meetings held that were participated in by retired generals with former President Arroyo sometime in November last year.

The supposed coup plot against President Aquino remains a remote possibility as both the military and police forces do not have any credible issue to warrant ousting him.  In fact, the military and police units have been supportive of the Aquino administration’s fight against corruption.

In addition, even if there were indeed military-police coup plot, it has a slim chance to succeed without the backing of the civil society. At this point, President Aquino remains very popular not only among the ranks of the AFP and PNP, but also among the people.

However, talk of a possible coup attempt is something security officials or the intelligence community should never ignore or be taken for granted.

While we may not exactly know as yet the agenda of those trying to foment intrigues within the military and police forces, it is prudent that such coup rumor be nipped in the bud before it even starts.

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