'Rumors,' Defense chief says on reported military unrest


Posted at Sep 10 2018 12:07 PM | Updated as of Sep 10 2018 04:37 PM

MANILA -- (UPDATE) Troop morale is "high," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday, as he dismissed as "rumors" reports that the military was divided over the plight of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Lorenzana said the last "destabilization" he monitored was from the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, which was "hatched in 2016 and finalized in 2017."

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Asked if the military was divided, Lorenzana said: "That's just a rumor."

"Mataas, mataas ang morale niyan (Morale is high)," he said.

Trillanes, President Rodrigo Duterte's most vocal critic, is facing arrest after his pardon was withdrawn. The President also ordered the restoration of criminal and administrative proceedings against the senator.

The lawmaker, a former Navy lieutenant who led failed uprisings against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003 and 2007, had said he trusted that the military would not follow "illegal" orders.

After Trillanes questioned Duterte's withdrawal of his amnesty before the Supreme Court last week, the military said it would wait for the high court's decision before restarting court martial proceedings. 

Lorenzana said the impending Supreme Court decision would have an impact on the cases of those who applied amnesty alongside Trillanes, even those who are serving the Duterte administration, as they went through the same process.

If the high court favors the legality of Duterte's proclamation, authorities may have to review the records of other former mutineers to determine whether or not they followed the process, he said.

Trillanes former comrades who are currently in government include Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Nicanor Faeldon and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danilo Lim.

The Defense chief also said it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who requested for the amnesty records of Trillanes and his group. He said he did not know what prompted Calida to ask for the documents.