By Mario Casayuran
The country’s top defense officials brushed off reports on Thursday of a brewing coup attempt against President Duterte.
The denial by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was made during the public hearing by the Senate finance sub-committee chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson on the defense department’s proposed 2018 P195.476 billion budget.
The alleged plot was revealed by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV who asked whether the AFP has heard or monitored reports that retired General Joselito Kakilala is claiming that a popular politician is recruiting members of Philippine Military (PMA) class 2006 to oust President Duterte from office.
Lorenzana told Senate reporters after the budget hearing that he has not heard of a coup attempt being hatched against the President.
The staging of a coup is “very remote,” he said “There is nothing to worry about,” he added.
Año, when asked during the budget hearing by Trillanes of such a coup attempt, said that such a report has to be validated and that the AFP has not monitored any destabilization effort by a politician or any other personality.He also said that there is no dissatisfaction at the AFP on the Duterte administration to trigger any attempt because the AFP is professionalized enough.
“We have not monitored that Senator Trillanes is recruiting,’’ Ano added.
Trillanes, a staunch critic of President Duterte, denied that he is the “popular politician” alluded to by General Joselito Kakilala, his PMA upper classman. He belongs to PMA Class 1995.
“I didn’t feel alluded. I am not popular,” Trillanes stressed.
Trillanes was jailed but later pardoned by then President Benigno (Noynoy) C. Aquino III for leading a mutiny in 2003 against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“There is no recruitment. We are not even going close to the gates of military camps,’’ he said.
Queried whether it is ripe for one to stage a coup even as the President regularly visits military camps, Trillanes told Senate reporters that ‘’there is no justification for a military intervention.’’
“We are exhausting all remedies to rectify an anomaly that is Duterte,’’ he said.
Trillanes had accused Duterte of having stained his hands for the death of scores of his political enemies and criminals when he was the Davao city mayor.
He also accused President Duterte of engaging in a bloody anti-illegal drugs war.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trillanes accused Duterte of having a more than P2 billion in several bank accounts.
He recently accused Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte of having a secret bank account of more than P100 million and of being a member of an influential Davao group receiving millions of pesos from customs brokers.
He also accused Paolo of being a member of a Chinese Triad.
The Duterte father and son rejected Trillanes’ demand that they sign a bank waiver so that the public will know that they have hidden bank accounts.
Tags: AFP and DND say: No threat of coup attempt vs Duterte, coup attempt, Gen. Eduardo Año, Manila Bulletin, Panfilo Lacson, Paolo Duterte, President Duterte, Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Senator Trillanes
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