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Arrest coup plot recruiters, commander tells troops

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2015 - 7:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — A military regional commander ordered his troops to arrest anyone who will recruit them to join ouster plots against President Benigno Aquino III.

Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya is confident that none of his men would join any effort to destabilize the government.

"When someone tries to recruit [soldiers to join the coup], he will be arrested," Visaya said in an interview yesterday.

"Nobody is above the law," he added.

Visaya warned that anyone who tries to organize a coup d’etat would face rebellion charges. He clarified that so far, there are no attempts to convince soldiers in Southern Luzon to rebel against the president.

"We are just preempting [coup planners] so that when they read this, they won’t attempt to do it," Visaya said.

"SOLCOM and the [Philippine National Police] in Southern Luzon remain loyal to the constitution, the commander-in-chief and the chain of command," he added.

Coup rumors surfaced amid the public outrage over the brutal killing of 44 Special Action Force members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.

Critics, however, are convinced that the report about the supposed plan to destabilize the government is just part of a ploy to divert attention away from the Mamasapano issue.

They believe that those behind the coup rumors are just protecting Aquino, who has been widely criticized for supposedly being too soft on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Last week, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago claimed to have received reports about the plan of some groups to organize a coup against Aquino. She did not identify the individuals hatching the plot but claimed that they are being backed by a "very rich man."

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, an ally of the Aquino administration, claimed last Monday that former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales was one of the organizers of the ouster plot.

Gonzales, however, denied the allegation but admitted that he is one with groups calling for Aquino to step down from office. - with Leslie Anne Mahusay

ANTONIO TRILLANES AQUINO ARMED FORCES SOUTHERN LUZON COMMAND DEFENSE SECRETARY NORBERTO GONZALES LESLIE ANNE MAHUSAY MAMASAPANO MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT SOUTHERN LUZON VISAYA
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