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Trillanes bares coup plot

Palace, military: No such thing

SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV said Tuesday that some retired generals with links to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were plotting against the government of President Benigno Aquino III.

Trillanes said that the retired generals were meeting with active military officials to destabilize the government.

Coup plot? Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is
shown here in UP Diliman speaking about the
effects of the K to 12 education plan on workers,
told a TV interview about a supposed plot to
mount a coup against President Benigno
Aquino III. Manny Palmero
Trillanes, a former Navy officer who led two unsuccessful coups against Arroyo, declined to name the retired generals and offered no other details about the alleged plot. His media relations officer, Bernadette Romero, confirmed an earlier interview with a TV network quoting Trillanes as saying that the plotters  met with certain generals.

But military officials and the administration’s top security official said they saw no signs of a coup plot.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia assured the public that there was no coup against the President.

“There is no such thing. There is no credible report of that nature,” Garcia said.

“It is very hard to imagine retired generals doing something like that. What will they gain from it?” he added.

The information chief of the Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, said they have not monitored any destabilization or recruitment efforts among active members of the military.

“I don’t know the source of Senator Trillanes. Maybe he has sources whom we do not know,” he said. “But for us in the AFP, we are confident that there is no destabilization plot. The AFP is a professional organization.”

Zagala added that active military officers are not prohibited from meeting with retired officers, but warned them to be more discerning.

“We are confident that the level of professionalism is very high. That’s why there is no news of any destabilization plot within the active service,” he said.

Zagala added that there was no problem with retired generals weighing in on national issues, as long as they don’t instigate the taking up of arms against the government.

Arroyo’s legal counsel, Ferdinand Topacio, rejected Trillanes’ claims, saying he had no idea what he was talking about.

“He does not know the first thing about coup d’etats. The so-called coups he planned and participated in were lousy and ended miserably for him with his tail behind his legs. He does not know whereof he speaks,” said Topacio.

Armed Forces Chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. earlier denied coup rumors after the Supreme Court declared the government’s Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional.

Also on Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the President was not saying farewell in his emotional State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“All other speculation--health issues, coup rumors, reaction to impeachment complaints, thinking of resigning--are tangential and miss the essential point,” he said.

Coloma said the President’s display of emotion was not a sign of weakness.

“Evidently, the President was speaking from the depths of his personal commitment to live up to his parents’ noble legacy...His firm belief, derived from his parents’ philosophy of service that ‘the Filipino is worth fighting for’ underscores his firm determination to fulfill a mission to serve, acknowledging that his emergence from that 1987 event with a new lease on life was providential. This is the context for understanding his rare public display of emotions,” Coloma added.

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