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Lorenzana: Social media coup recruitment 'exposé' is fake news

Camp Aguinaldo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Quezon City. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Defense officials have dismissed social media reports of recruitment for a coup as having no basis.

"Kung mayroon talaga, mararamdaman talaga ng Defense or Armed Forces. Talagang may magre-report sa amin eh. We have not received any such report. Lumalabas lang sa mga social media... ah, ang tingin ko diyan fake news yan eh," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday after a budget hearing at the Senate.

Posts on social media citing The Asian Policy and other supposed news websites have hinted that a politician has been trying to recruit members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2006 for a coup against the Duterte administration. The posts cite a radio broadcaster and a social media account called "Syet Da Pwet" as their so-called sources.

The posts prompted Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who participated in mutinies against the Arroyo administration and who has since availed of amnesty, to ask Defense officials about the allegations.

A retired AFP general posted a link to this post but later deleted it.

"So far we have not monitored any recruitment activity within the organization and we have not seen any cause for dissatisfaction or demoralization," Gen. Eduardo Año, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, said during the hearing, a clip of which was shown on GMA's "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho" on Thursday night.

"Our Armed Forces are professional enough [not to join coups]," the AFP chief said.

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Posts on the supposed recruitment point to this Facebook post as their source

In August, the AFP also played down a group that claimed to be composed of military and police officers that accused President Rodrigo Duterte of "treating the AFP and the [Philippine National Police] as these were his private armies and practicing favoritism and violating professional and service standards in the promotion and assignment of officers."

In response, BGen. Restituto Padilla Jr., AFP spokesperson, said "the AFP categorically denies the recent statement issued by a group that pretends to be representative of the men and women of the AFP and the PNP that calls itself the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM)."

Padilla also said that the military will not hesitate to act against forces who undermine the stability and security of the country and those who wish to destabilize the nation through unconstitutional means. 

 

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