Gonzales won't join coup plot vs PNoy but...

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2015 11:01 AM | Updated as of Feb 18 2015 04:03 AM

MANILA - Why not another EDSA revolution against President Aquino?

This is the call of former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales amid rumors that he is part of an alleged plot to oust the President.

Speaking before ANC's Headstart, Gonzales denied that he is planning a coup with other groups who are determined to see President Aquino kicked out of Malacanang.

"I will not engage in a coup and I will never support a coup because that is against my personal principle," he said.

However, he also admitted that he knows of people who are scheming to remove the President.

"Mayroon akong mga nakikilala pero wag kang mag-alala, hindi matutuloy. They are not credible."

Gonzales accused Senator Antonio Trillanes of engaging in a fishing expedition after the latter linked him to the alleged coup plot. He dared Trillanes to name the time and place where the alleged coup meeting took place so he could verify or refute it.

"Wala akong meeting na nagpa-plano ng kudeta. All the times I have been in government I have been advising the Armed Forces to always move as an institution," he said.

On the other hand, Gonzales admitted he is backing the call of religious leaders for President Aquino to step down and let a council to take over the country instead.

He said the National Transformation Council has been making the call for several years now amid questions about the country's electoral system.

Gonzales, who is also a former National Security Adviser, said there is "moral basis for the President to step down." He noted there is a lot of grumbling against the President over his perceived role in the Mamasapano operation that saw 44 police commandos killed by Moro rebels.

Asked if he supports a possible People Power revolution against President Aquino, he said: "Why not? What's wrong with that? It is not a coup. It is people power, di ba? Di ba kailangan na natin yan?"

In the interview, Gonzales also denied backing the move of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to send armed followers to Lahad Datu, Sabah to revive the Sultanate's claim to the Eastern Malaysian state.

He said that while he is a close friend of Kiram, he did not support the move to go to Lahad Datu.

"That is adventurous and I think a little bit irresponsible," he said.

He also said he does understand why then US Ambassador Kristie Kenney opposed his appointment as defense secretary during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

According to a confidential diplomatic cable published by whistleblower group WikiLeaks, Kenney said Gonzales was "mercurial," "inconsistent," and "prone to shooting from the hip."

The US embassy memo cited the criticism Gonzales received in March 2009 when he proposed that a transitional government be formed to carry out constitutional changes, with membership drawn from the executive branch, judiciary, churches, and civil society.

"He suggested that this government be headed by former President Joseph Estrada, who was forced out of the presidential palace in a 2001 uprising and then convicted on corruption charges, or Mike Velarde, the leader of the Catholic Charismatic group El Shaddai Movement," it said.

In response, Gonzales said people have different perceptions of him, adding that only those he worked with in the defense department can explain how he worked.

He said the Philippine government also caught flak from the US after the Filipino contingent pulled out of Iraq ahead of schedule in an effort to save the life of Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz. The truck driver was held by Iraqi rebels but released after the Filipino troop pullout.