AFP chief sees no need for loyalty check amid coup rumors

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 05 2015 08:30 AM | Updated as of Feb 05 2015 07:41 PM

MANILA - The military does not see the need to conduct a loyalty check among troops amid rumors that some officers are dissatisfied with the way President Aquino handled the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that resulted in the death of 44 police commandos.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said soldiers would remain faithful to the chain of command and the Constitution.

“There is no need for a loyalty check. We are loyal to the Constitution and to our duly constituted authorities,” he told reporters yesterday.

Catapang said the President should be allowed to finish his term.

“I think the President has a mandate from the people and the election is coming soon. We have to allow the President to finish his term because he is the duly elected and duly constituted authority of the country,” he said.

He said the military has not received reports about the supposed plan of some uniformed personnel to stage an anti-government uprising.

Reports about the supposed demoralization within the security forces surfaced after Aquino was criticized for supposedly being too soft on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the group blamed for the death of 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Maguindanao.

Philippine National Police officer-in charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina likewise said that police officers are fully behind the President and commander-in-chief.

Espina described as unfair the call for withdrawal of support from the President amid the controversy on the carnage of SAF members in Mamasapano last Jan. 25.

“We are fully behind the President. With these trying moments, the public would be able to test the solidarity that we (the PNP and the Armed Forces) have,” said Espina during a press briefing at Camp Crame.

At the same time, Espina reiterated his demand for the MILF to return the equipment and valuables of the slain SAF men, including firearms, uniforms and cellular phones.

He also deplored the manner the SAF men were killed while they were on a mission to arrest Malaysia bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino Basit Usman. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

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