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.
BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
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
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
“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
“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
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.
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
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.
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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