PH military douses coup rumors, loyalty check


Posted at Aug 04 2014 12:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2014 09:09 PM

MANILA - The Philippine military is confident that its active members remain professional and free from partisanship, dousing rumors that a destabilization plot is in the works.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces public affairs office chief, gave this assurance amid persistent rumors of a possible destabilization plot against the Aquino administration.

Speaking to ANC, Zagala said the Armed Forces has not monitored any developments indicating that retired members of the AFP are involved in such a plot as Senator Antonio Trillanes and Magdalo party-list Rep. Ashley Acedillo warned.

"We remain professional and partisan-free and in no way will we do any acts that will compromise our democratic institutions and our democratic freedom. We are resilient to such moves so we are insulated [from] partisan politics," he told Headstart host Karen Davila.

"Among the ranks of the retired or those who have left the service, if Senator Trillanes or Congressman Acedillo will coordinate with us, we are more than happy to help in finding out or investigating but definitely without warrant we will not investigate primarily because they have already regained their freedom of expression so it is hard to curtail their freedom of expression. If they are just saying something against the government, I think that is not against the law."

Zagala said there are ways and means inside the military to determine compliance and efficiency of troops. There is also a grievance system that allow soldiers to air their grievances so that the AFP leadership can respond.

Speculation was rife over the weekend that the AFP was conducting loyalty checks among its personnel especially after new AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang Junior visited the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City on Saturday.

Zagala said there was nothing extraordinary about the visit, noting that Catapang also made a visit to the Northern Luzon Command and other major services.

"We have a new chief of staff. It is but natural for a new AFP chief to go around and visit various units of the AFP...This is but natural for him to visit. He wants his men to see him. One of the major activities is to really go to the grassroots, talk to the men and get their pulse. It shows that he is a soldier's soldier. He wants to connect to the common soldier so they can see he is approachable," he said.