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What coup?

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Top Stories
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Featured Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III

PHILIPPINE National Police Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina and Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang yesterday brushed aside rumors of a brewing coup d’ etat in the aftermath of the Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation that left 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos and Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, Zulkfili bin Hir, dead last January 25.
 
“There’s no truth to that rumor,” Espina told the Journal Group. He said that he and his classmate from Philippine Military Academy Class 1981, Gen. Catapang, are regularly talking with each other and have found out that there is no basis in those coup rumors as validated by police and military intelligence agents.
   
Espina issued the statement after a brief meeting with newly-designated AFP Civil Relations Service chief Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala who paid him a courtesy call at the former’s office. Kakilala was joined by his classmate from PMA Class 1984, Chief Superintendent Nestor Quinsay Jr., head of the Police-Community Relations Group.
   
The PNP and the AFP leadership denied the existence of a plot to overthrow the Aquino government a day after Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin acknowledged receiving reports about a plan for a military takeover following the Mamasapano incident but said those reports are still being verified.
   
Gazmin acknowledged the information as he was being questioned by Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago during a Senate hearing on the January 25 debacle. Senator Santiago said her sources indicated that a “very rich” man, whom he did not name, was financing the plot.
   
“All of those planners should be arrested immediately because like any other crime under the penal code, the crime of coup d’etat has three stages: attempted, frustrated, and consummated. So arestuhin na sila dapat (They should be arrested),” Sen. Santiago said.
   
Espina said the PNP and the AFP remain solid behind the Aquino administration and would fend off any attempt to undermine it. Gazmin also said that high-ranking AFP officials are unlikely to support any coup. “As far as a coup d’etat is concerned, it will entail the support of the military and we are very confident that the military will not be involved in this coup d’etat,” Gazmin said.
   
Senator Santiago on Thursday said she had received intelligence information “that leaders of certain alphabet soup acronyms who are familiar with the public had a recent meeting, because they wanted to discuss how to stage a coup d’etat, who should be installed as president, and even their contributors were there.”
   
She added that the coup financier “is one who also funded similar coup d‘etat in the past. That is why you know him.” Santiago said she is against the removal of President Aquino by any means other than the legal means, that is, impeachment.
   
“At present, the President can only be impeached out of office. Thereafter, he can be sued. Therefore my criticism should be taken as surgical operations to determine what should not be done again,” she said.