Alleged destabilization plots not alarming security execs

January 15, 2008 9:15am CST
Alleged destabilization plots not alarming--security execs By Joel Guinto First Posted 16:05:00 01/15/2008 MANILA, Philippines -- Reported destabilization attempts against the Arroyo administration are "not alarming" and the possibility that this will succeed is "remote," security officials said Tuesday. At the same time, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. denied allegations that the government was harping on power grab plots to lay the groundwork for extending the term of Military Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who will retire on February 9. "I deny that, the government will not do such a thing just for extending the term of the chief of staff. We continue to monitor these allegations of destabilization and we feel that the possibility is remote although we are not taking any chances," Teodoro told reporters in Malacañang. National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the supposed destabilization threat was not discussed during the meeting of the Cabinet's national security cluster on Tuesday. "[Destabilization] is an ongoing concern. We always take it seriously, but the state of destabilization is not to alarming," Gonzales said in a separate interview. In Camp Aguinaldo, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, military spokesman issued a similar statement, saying that the threat is "nothing that the Armed Forces can't handle." "The threat was not imagined by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It has basis. There are developments that would lead to the possibility of a destabilization effort," Bacarro said. Last week, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez warned that a destabilization plot could be launched on January 22 when militant groups are set to hold protest actions on this date to mark the anniversary of the so-called massacre in Mendiola. The rally, then by farmers in Malacañang against the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program during the term of president Corazon Aquino, was marred by a clash between Palace guards and the protesters, resulting in the deaths of several farmers. Teodoro said he would discus the reported threat with the justice secretary. Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a former military chief, said the coup rumors were meant to pave the way for Esperon's extension. Esperon is one of Arroyo's longest serving chiefs of staff. He would have served as military chief for 18 month when he retires on schedule. Arroyo has extended the terms as chiefs of staff of then generals Roy Cimatu, Benjamin Defensor, and Efren Abu. Abu's term was extended in mid-2005 when wiretapped tapes of Arroyo's alleged phone conversations with ex-elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano put into question the legitimacy of Arroyo’s win in the 2004 elections and set off the worst political crisis of her presidency.
1 response
• Philippines
16 Jan 08
This administration is the best in concocting truth and they are not afraid of whatever happens because they can do whatever they want even if unwarranted like what they have done in Manila Pen where such actions are not necessary. But everything has an end and all that we could do is to hope that their term would already be ended.