Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VI, No. 3      February 19 - 25, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines











Web Bulatlat


(We encourage readers to dialogue with us. Email us your letters complaints, corrections, clarifications, etc.)

Join Bulatlat's mailing list



(Email us your letters statements, press releases,  manifestos, etc.)



For turning the screws on hot issues, Bulatlat has been awarded the Golden Tornillo Award.

Iskandalo Cafe


Copyright 2004 Bulatlat


70% of AFP Poised to Strike vs. GMA

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has been issuing contradictory statements regarding the veracity and seriousness of the alleged coup plot dubbed as “Operation Hackle.”  But even as the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) are quick to claim that they are solidly behind President Macapagal-Arroyo, a retired military officer said, in an exclusive interview with Bulatlat that 70 percent of AFP troops are against the president and are ready to move anytime now.


DEFIANT IN CAPTIVITY: Air Force Capt. Segundino Orfino Jr., a leader of the Magdalo group that staged the Oakwood mutiny in 2003, displays a clenched fist on his way to trial

A retired military officer, who requested anonymity, said that junior and senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are restive and ready to move to boot out Pres Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

 “Based on my conservative estimate, 70 percent of AFP troops are against GMA (referring to Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo),” the military source said.

The source said there are many factions within the military that are planning to topple the Arroyo administration. But all these factions are now aligned and ready to move simultaneously. The retired military officer also said that these factions are being led by officers from Philippine Military Academy (PMA) batches starting from the late ‘70s to the present and that most of them have been involved in several coup attempts before.

Earlier reports name the Magdalo, YOU (Young Officers Union), YOUng, (Young Officers Union-New Generation), Patriotic Filipino Soldiers, RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement), Soldiers of the Filipino People (SFP), Enlightened Warriors, among others, as factions within the military that are plotting against the government.

By the source’ estimate, the YOUng could be the most influential among the groups because its members are the “most idealistic and are not politically involved.”

EDSA 1 scenario

It may probably be an EDSA 1 (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) scenario, the source said referring to the February 1986 people power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

The first people power uprising in 1986 at historic EDSA was triggered after then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos, former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan barricaded themselves at Camps Aguinaldo and Crame, from February 22-25, to prevent their arrest after the Marcos dictatorship discovered their alleged military coup d’ etat plot.  Thereafter, millions of Filipinos gathered at EDSA in response to the call of the late Cardinal Sin.  They stayed there for four days until the Marcos family was whisked away to Hawaii. This event came to be known as EDSA 1 or People Power 1.

Binabasa nila ang sentimento ng tao,” (They are trying to read the people’s sentiments.) the source said. “They don’t want to take over for themselves. They’re making sure it will have backing of the people,” the source said adding that the coup plotters are now confident of the people’s support as they see more and more Filipinos protesting against the Arroyo administration.

The source said the military is restive because the economic and political situation in the country is getting worse. “Kailangan na nilang makialam kundi ay tuluy-tuloy na tayong babagsak. Kung hindi magbabago sigurado sasabog ang sitwasyon,” (They feel the need to intervene otherwise the situation will continue to worsen.  They think that if change does not happen now, the situation will explode.) the source said.

“The military is just waiting for the right time,” said the source.  

In a separate interview, Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona said the military’s withdrawal of support is vital and constitutional. “The Supreme Court says it is legitimate especially when the armed forces has lost confidence in their Commander-in-Chief,” he said.

Guingona, who has been actively campaigning for the ouster of President Arroyo, shares the view that the military should take an active part in the incumbent’s removal from office because “they (the military) are part of the people.”

Worse than Marcos

The source also said that most military officers believe that the fraud done by the Arroyo administration during the May 2004 elections was worse than that of the 1986 snap elections that pitted the late Ferdinand E. Marcos against Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, widow of Marcos’ political rival, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino.

Massive election fraud caused a walk-out at the National Computer Center, where the votes were being tallied, in 1986. This was the start of a series of events that led to EDSA 1.

“The officers, especially the young ones, felt used and abused during the 2004 elections,” the source said. “Most of the young officers calling for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ouster were themselves election fraud operators for the president,” the source added. 

“What made the 2004 elections worse than the 1986 snap elections is the fact that Macapagal-Arroyo paid large sums of money to provincial governors and city mayors who were known supporters of the late Fernando Poe Jr., the president’s closest political rival,” said the source.

“Marcos did not do that,” the source said.

The source also said that during the 2004 elections fraud was done in all levels of the election process. “Si Marcos nagpalusot lang siya dun sa election returns sa provincial level. Pero si GMA, SOVs (Statement of Votes) pa lang binanatan na nya,” (Marcos tried to doctor the election returns at the provincial level.  But with GMA, even the Statements of Votes or SOVs at the precint level were already being fixed.) the source added.

Information from the young officers also confirmed that vote rigging was at its worst in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the provinces of Cebu and Iloilo, areas where Arroyo gained her lead from Poe.

“According to young officers, they have evidences that most of the elections returns in those areas were manufactured,” the source said.

Macapagal-Arroyo was forced to engage in such dirty tricks due to the fact that her camp’s internal surveys showed Poe was leading the presidential race. “Alam nya talo sya kaya pinaghandaan talaga nya kung paano nya dadayain,” (She knows that she will lose so they really prepared how to cheat.) the source said.

Transition Council

The source said that the coup plotters are agreeable to the formation of a civilian Transition Council.

“If people don’t immediately mass up in droves, the military might take over for a few days until the civilian leadership forms the Council, the source said.

The military leadership will then turn over the seat of power to the Transition Council, the source added.

“They don’t want a military dictatorship. They also don’t want to give the power to one person because the country might go back to a Martial Law scenario where only one person is in power and nobody could check him or her,” the source said.

The source added that if a military officer is asked to be part of the Council, s/he will retire from active service. “Pero isa lang sa kanila at ito ay maghuhubad ng uniporme,” (There should only be one from the military and s/he must retire from active service.) the source said.

Earlier last year, organizations spearheading the ouster of Macapagal-Arroyo formed the Solidarity Movement that seeks to form a Transition Council immediately after the president is removed from office.

Representatives of the different organizations included former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa of Reporma Party, Rep. Satur Ocampo representing Bayan Muna, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo for the multi-sectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Horacio “Boy” Morales of Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Atty. Louie Sison of Bangon Pilipinas and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay of the United Opposition (UNO).

The Solidarity Movement said that the most immediate mandate of the Transition Council is to “clean-up and reform the electoral system and to conduct massive voter education to lay the ground for the special elections that will elect the new, regular government.”

It its briefing paper distributed to media, the Solidarity Movement said that the Council will also prioritize the prosecution of Macapagal-Arroyo and other public officials who are party to the massive fraud during the 2004 elections.

It will undertake measures to provide immediate economic relief and rehabilitation while laying the groundwork for a strong, self-reliant economy.  It will also institute measures to promote the people’s democratic rights and responsibility.


While admitting that young military officers have erred by staging the failed Oakwood mutiny in July 2004, the Bulatlat source said military officers and soldiers who want to topple the Arroyo government is confident they are on the right track.

Unlike the Oakwood mutiny, the source said they are now confident of the people’s support. 

“I have no doubt they will win this for and with the people,” the source said. Bulatlat 




© 2006 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.