Both Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año denied reports that members of the military are being recruited to join a coup d’etat plot against the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Nothing to worry. There’s no coup,” Lorenzana told reporters after a Senate hearing on Thursday, September 14.
“We have not received any such report. It only came out in social media so I view it as fake news. It’s possible that only one or two persons were trying to sow some discord,” he added.
During the hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV sought to clear his name concerning reports of an alleged destabilization plot.
Trillanes cited a Facebook post from a certain “General Kakikala”—whom he later identified as Gen. Joselito Kakilala—that a “popular politician” has been recruiting members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 2006.
A screen capture of the post provided by the senator’s camp, which was originally written in Filipino, read: “This politician is a fool. The Armed Forces worked hard for the AFP Transformation Roadmap to highly professionalize the corp. Don’t believe this guy. Many soldiers and their families suffered because of their participation in various coups. Finish your mission in Marawi, that is the honorable thing to do in our profession.”
“This Gen. Kakilala is spreading news that there is supposedly a popular politician recruiting officers from PMA Class 2006 for a coup against Duterte,” said Trillanes, who previously led two failed coup attempts against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The senator then sought Año’s confirmation if the military received any intelligence report about a coup plot.
“I did not feel alluded to not only because I’m not recruiting anybody but I’m also not popular. So I want to be clarified. Is there any recruitment activity (to join a coup)?” Trillanes asked.
But according to Año, the military has not monitored any coup attempt against Duterte.
“With regard those information, they have to be validated. So far we have not validated and we have not seen any cause for dissatisfaction. So far we have not monitored any destabilization of any politician or personality,” Año said.
For his part, Kakilala, who was also the Army spokesman during the term of president Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino 3rd, clarified that he was not trying to spread fake news.
“I just commented in the post, but it is farthest in my mind that I speak against a revered senator…[When I was] told that it could be fake news, I pulled out my comment,” Kakilala told GMA News Online.
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