Putsch foiled?

Last night I received a tip that there might be troop movements. The reason given was that it was to preempt the arrest of ringleaders planning a coup. I was unable to confirm it with other sources and so didn’t blog it.

It seems though, that something did happen. ABS-CBN Interactive reports Army says uncovers plot against Arroyo, which is heavily based on a Reuters report you can read here.

There has been scuttlebutt of increasing frustration in the military for some days now; what remains unclear is if a coup attempt has been foiled, or only partially frustrated.

Because it doesn’t archive articles or provide permanent links, I’m reproducing an intriguing article that came out yesterday in the Philippine Star: I am convinced it was leaked for a purpose.

Ateneo study warns against impending social disorder
By Perseus Echeminada
The Philippine Star 12/11/2005

A study prepared by the Center for Strategic Studies of the Ateneo de Manila University for National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales has warned of a “deepening social disorder, destitution and despair” if the political crisis hounding President Arroyo is not resolved soon.

In a 49-page report titled “AFP: Defender of the Nation, Guardian of Democracy and Servant of the People,” Fr. Romeo Intengan, the Ateneo center’s president, warned that the country is in the “grip of a political crisis largely because of chronic inability of the present political system to effectively address the economic and cultural problems of Philippine society that are the roots of the revolutionary situation that the country is in now.”

It did not specify if the social disorder it referred to meant civil war but said “organized groups of significant strength are pursuing revolutionary change with real possibility of success.”

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, is now reportedly being circulated in military camps to enlighten troops on the importance of the role of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in keeping the peace.

It stated that the AFP was once a proud institution but is now part of the current political crisis because of corruption and mismanagement.

“Systematic deficiencies have caused the capability gaps in the AFP operations and have engendered opportunity for malpractice like graft and corruption within the ranks,” the report said.

Despite that, the report said the military would continue to uphold the law and reject adventurism.

“There is much hope that the AFP would sooner (rather) than later vigorously carry out its duty as defender, guardian and servant of the nation. Democracy and the people in cooperation with other patriotic and social forces,” it said.

The opposition, of which deposed President Joseph Estrada is the de facto leader, has been waging a six-month-old campaign to oust Mrs. Arroyo over charges that she cheated to win the May 2004 election. Estrada is in detention on massive corruption charges.

In September, Mrs. Arroyo’s allies in Congress quashed an impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo filed by pro-Estrada lawmakers.

This has led to a protracted political standoff between Mrs. Arroyo and the opposition, raising fears that violence or a military takeover might result.

The persistent specter of military intervention reappeared following allegations that a military intelligence unit spied and recorded Mrs. Arroyo’s telephone conversations with an election official believed to be Virgilio Garcillano.

The recordings sparked the worst political crisis to confront Mrs. Arroyo.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier apologized for her “lapse in judgment” in speaking to an unnamed election official before the votes were tallied but she has denied cheating to win the 2004 polls. She did not identify the official but claimed her action was a clumsy bid to protect her slim margin amid a slow vote count.

In early November, Mrs. Arroyo and former President Fidel Ramos met to clear the air between them following a rumor that Ramos — along with some former military generals loyal to him — was plotting a coup.

Ramos and Malacañang strongly denied the rumor.

A rift reportedly developed between Ramos and Mrs. Arroyo when she appeared hesitant to cut short her term in office to pave the way for a Ramos proposal to amend the Constitution and change the country’s form of government from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

Shortly after the opposition began its campaign to force Mrs. Arroyo from office, Ramos issued his proposal, which he said would minimize political bickering.

The proposal was perceived to give President Arroyo a “graceful exit” amid opposition-led calls for her resignation over allegations of poll fraud.

The Philippines is no stranger to coup attempts and rumors of instability after popular revolts that toppled Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Estrada in 2001 and has experienced at least a dozen failed military interventions since 1986.

The bloodless uprisings against Marcos and Estrada, however, left an unstable political system in which politicians are quick to threaten the incumbent president with “people power” protests.

It also left lingering fears of a disgruntled military taking over the government to solve the country’s economic problems that are often blamed on endless political bickering.

In 2003, about 300 officers and enlisted men seized a ritzy condominium in Makati City’s business district and rigged the area with bombs.

The mutineers demanded the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo and accused high government officials and their superiors of graft. The uprising ended in less than 24 hours after negotiations.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

26 thoughts on “Putsch foiled?

  1. About future coups

    My entry about UP and PMA was for the purpose of an ominous vison of mine that because many poor people would want a secure future so they join the PMA will only lead to more idealism and adventurism

    like before as in the case of UP were their populations was more of idealist who are poor
    now there are many rich UP students..

    Just an observation if there are existing empirical studies
    then its a freak coincidence…

  2. To be honest my dad is an adviser of Biazon a very close one
    but by my observation his cell phone was not active lat weekend and yesterday

    although both of us were awake when the supposed troop movement s occured and watching news …..

    my dad almost but not exactly telling me that it was kuryente and go back to sleep
    maybe because of that Asean thing…

  3. here is my e-mail w Prof David re:influence of Blogosphere
    to reinforce his arguments…

    Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 17:30:20 +0800
    From: “Public Lives” Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
    Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by gmail.com. Learn more
    To: “[email protected]
    Subject: Re: demanding closure

    Hi Karl,

    Many thanks for bringing to my attention the growing influence of the blogsphere. As I do not maintain my own blog, I am naturally not aware of the extent to which people now visit the blog sites of others. But you may be right — this is the democracy of the future.

    Randy David

    On 12/11/05, [email protected] wrote:
    Dear Mr. David,

    I am Karl Marc tomas M. Garcia who have e-mailed you
    as my sister Lara has but only using a different email
    address that of Commodore Plaridel Garcia…..

    Sometimes he dictates but we do the articulation of
    the short messages and leave the long attchments to

    I have a reaction you forgot to mention the
    blogosphere aside from tv and radio…

    and it should be noted that the most visted ite today
    is ang dating daan ni Elly Soriano…

    Starting mid October I had been involved in the
    blogosphere spending time in the blogs of MLQ3,Ricky
    Carandang and recently ellen Tordesillas…

    I have been giving my two centsn as if it matters
    concerning the opinion in the blogosphere regarding
    national security…

    funny even us who are just children of people involved
    with security have a say….
    The son of Victor Mayo..Demetrius was a high school
    school mate
    if and when I have the chance to speak with him I
    offer my two cents worth if not a penny for my

    even this senate hearings I try my best to give my two
    cents to my father so as to what people feel re:senate
    hearings vis-a vis congressional hearings

    recently I told that in ellen Tordesillas blog and I
    was commended for my independent thinking..

    Egos aside I believe our generation has a big say in
    Nation building thru blogs and direct or indirect
    influence to those in charge of national security

    merry Xmas to you and your wife More power!!!!!!

  4. Even if military adventurism does happen, knowing Filipino propensity for drama and politics, it is just another chapter that soon everybody will forget.

    A Filipino auto mechanic working at Toyota USA, told me, “Daming kudeta, wala namang namamatay dyan! Puro drama, dapat may patayan lalo na ang mga congressmen at mga medya”.

    That’s how bad he looked at the media, so much crap!

  5. We have always been hovering on the brink of chaos…

    Next week there’ll be another one of those issues. And the week after that.

    When will things come to a head?

  6. Manolo, you might want to read Fr. Intengan’s reaction to such reports:

    from: http://www.ateneo.edu/news.php?news_id=3483&office_id=7

    Statement of Fr. Romeo J. Intengan, S.J. regarding a Supposed “Exit Plan” for President Macapagal – Arroyo
    4 December 2005

    This concerns the series of articles in The Manila Times from November 23 thru November 25, 2005, which claimed that National Security Adviser Norberto B. Gonzales and I had presented an exit plan for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Supposedly, the plan contains: (1) a description of the country’s political condition being “a revolutionary situation aggravated by political crisis,” (2) a proposal for the abolition of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), and (3) conditions for the President’s “stepping down.” Major parts of the above mentioned articles were picked up by other news agencies and given very wide dissemination.

    I absolutely deny having submitted or having taken part in preparing any “exit plan” for the President. The so-called exit “conditions” are not of my making, if they exist at all. Most probably these are pure fabrications fed to media practitioners for purposes of political intrigue.

    There exist not only one, but two documents which I authored, that do contain, but separately, two of the points raised by the source of the reporter who wrote the Manila Times articles. The first document, the 50-page “The Armed Forces of the Philippines: Defender of the Nation, Guardian of Democracy, and Servant of the People,” carries my assessment of the present national crisis which, indeed, I describe as a “revolutionary situation aggravated by a political crisis.” It also exhorts the country’s armed forces to partake in the tasks of radical reform, social revolution, and national unity.

    The second document, the 24-page “Program Points for Addressing the Revolutionary Situation,” does include the proposal to “(s)tudy the possibility of abolishing the ISAFP.” This proposal, however, is but one (and not even a major one) of the many initial policies and measures comprising my proposed “revolutionary agenda.” The entire agenda, which is comprehensive, is aimed at “renewing and strengthening the state,” “rectify(ing) the main defects and dysfunctions of our political system,” and “making our democracy an authentic one.”

    Both documents are published by the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS), the office of which is on the Loyola Heights campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. Both documents are endorsed by the National Security Adviser. Both are also widely-circulated. Neither constitutes or contains an “exit plan” for the President.

    A story published in the November 24 issue of The Manila Times alleges that I submitted the plan to the President “at the Jesuit House in Quezon City.” The last time the President was in one of the Jesuit houses in which I have resided or held office was in the year 2000.

    I can only wonder if the source of the report regarding an “exit plan” thoroughly read the documents referred to above, or if they did so, what was their intention in distorting the significance of their contents. I am also amazed at that source’s capacity for invention.


    Romeo J. Intengan, S.J.

  7. It seems that so many of our kababayans have very little to do. We devote so much time to tsismis and intrigues.

    In the end, I agree with dodong who posted above. It’s all bark, no bite.

  8. I believe that blogs (including ours) are shaping our minds on how we see and perceive things. Yes, wala pang nangyayari ngayon but I also believe that once a critical mass of the same minds is achieved, change will be inevitable.
    Just be ready to put into action what comes out of your mouth/blog!

  9. Regarding the auto mechanic’s remark above, I’m amazed how frequently i hear otherwise normal folks wish for some sort of bloodshed to happen in the country. Would this be the effect of watching too much violence on TV, playing too much video games or basic human nature?

  10. CVJ, you know ive been thinking about something similar to what the automechanic said. Perhaps is lies in the fact that the price we pay for our democracy is too cheap. assemble a few thousand people in Edsa, convince a few influential people to be there too and convince the military to join. it’s too easy.

    unlike with bloodshed. it something that nobody wants to experience, and if we as a people carry some sort of baggage in our psyche about not wanting to have bloodshed again, perhaps FIlipinos would be more protective of TRUE democracy.

  11. x, thanks for the explanation. So a degree of bloodshed is desirable for some hoped for cathartic effect on our national psyche. Perhaps there’s something going for that line of thinking…so who would be willing to offer up their own families to participate in this ‘worthwhile’ undertaking? Would middle class blood be worth more
    than that of some poor folks in Mindanao?

    I recall the Israelis have had their own form of bloodshed sometime back. Did not seem to do them any good in their treatment of the Palestinians.

  12. I think the auto mechanic expresses a popular desire: the extermination of politicians and media practiotioners with nothing better to do. I do not think that poses a dilemma to the public at large.

    The holocaust may not have made the Zionists a kinder, gentler people. But it made them more fiercely protective of the ideal of a Jewish nation. Unfortunately, this excessive zeal has resulted in paranoia, xenophobia and bigotry to the detriment of the Palestinian nation. The excesses of the Zionists do not, however, take away from the fact that the tragedy of the holocaust galvanized the Jewish nation.

  13. Sadly, that sentiment is all too common, whether in the caves of Tora Bora or in your neighborhood garage. Extermination is fine as long as it happens to someone else. Apathy has deep roots.

  14. Cvj, nicely said. Anybody around here willing to risk life for a just cause? Or are we one in letting others spill their blood first?

  15. I think no pne ask us to risk our life.You wouldn’t know what you will be risking your life for in the 1st place.it seems to me that if there is anything asked from us.It will be more a change of attitude.Going back to basics.Knowing that anyone can contribute concrete actions. by just starting to be fair.Cuz at the end of the day talk is chip.

  16. To “x” — Seems Fr. Romeo Intengan is just being TOO MODEST. Perhaps he is unhappy that the Manila Times ABRIDGED his 50 page “The Armed Forces of the Philippines: Defender of the Nation, Guardian of Democracy, and Servant of the People,” which title sounds nothing at all like his description of it: “It also exhorts the country’s armed forces to partake in the tasks of radical reform, social revolution, and national unity.”

    He goes on to mourn the scissoring of his 24 page other thing where he declares: “This proposal, however, is but one (and not even a major one) of the many initial policies and measures comprising my proposed “revolutionary agenda.” The entire agenda, which is comprehensive, is aimed at “renewing and strengthening the state,” “rectify(ing) the main defects and dysfunctions of our political system,” and “making our democracy an authentic one.”

    I don’t agree with abolishing ISAFP,I’m for investigating it and cleaning it out so it can do intelligence work, not Comelec work. Or does Fr. really want the abolition of the entire AFP and is merely recruiting the military into the New People’s Army so together they can fight the class enemy and march to revolutionary victory?

    Is that what DEMOCRACY means any more at the Ateneo? Maybe he should print up those 74 pages into a Little Blue Book? I’ll be the first to sign up to read it.

  17. Correction to the automechanic……..

    During the 89 coup one died while in detention

    I remember this well!!!!

    I was close to the family he left behind and one graduated the PMA barely 2-3 months after!!!!

  18. The drama you are talking about….

    Friends suddenly becoming enemies……

    always having to watch your back…..

    not knowing whom to trust……

    what more are you guys looking for!!!!!

    December 12th, 2005 00:15 4I had a friend in that 2001 coup james Layug
    who put the booby traps in Oakwood

    I remember my sister accompanying him to the PMA testing center
    before that he was a timid guy
    I have a confession to make we son of generals look down upon his kind the son of enlisted personnel

    we might make them barkadas they might be schoolmates in Malate catholic to some but discrimination always exist the only place we were equals is at the basketball court were every man takes every elbow like a man…

    I am this adventurous type of a fellow
    during the 89 coup I was held up or bullied by son of rebels who were barkadas by taking my ICOM radiio that became an issue because I wrote a formal letter to Mrs. Gojo requesting for the equipment to be returned

    the following year we just laughed at it over a bottle of beer and after wards I was invited to his wedding inside the BNS with future senator Gregorio Honasan as the guest of honor and one of the ninongs circa 92….

    rewind 1989 Fort san felipe
    my dad’s men were all gone sudenly one reported for work then saying you are under arrest…

    my dad almost got a heart attck if not getting the instant bawi and told was just kiiding

    in the navy village NCRPO head Rodlfo Biazon was lamenting that those were his men..Nun Quam Iterum!!!!!! Never again so he became chief of staff allowed Gringo to go back and forth in the BNS to attend a RAM meeting then years later seeing eye to eye in the Senate….

    December 12th, 2005 00:29 5Re:Strictly politics

    I hear Robles highlighting that military are trained to be anti communists

    how sad but true
    my dad never went back to Mulanay Quezon his home town a communist infested area

    Closure issue….

    What closure ….another president another problem..what do we do??????


    December 12th, 2005 05:05 7If the AFP chief recent and present were to be summoned in the senate were the latter having a double jeopardy because of his pending confirmation

    then the anti wire tapping law will be exhausted with full force

    hide the ISAFP 14 go straight to the COS

    eo464 will soon be extinct…..

    December 12th, 2005 05:11 8I noticed in the past entries I messed up eith the year example no coup in 2001

    correction:2003 Oakwood

    but who cares….

    Robles dismissed it as another communist threat?
    Commodore are you sure?

    December 12th, 2005 05:27 9Speaking of enlightened guardian angels

    we don’t need threats to be enlightened

    what we need is the repeal of EO464 simple as that…..

    December 12th, 2005 07:08 10i remember Commodore Robles…

    he was also a neighbor in a colorful place calledd the Bonifacio Naval Station….

    were Biazon,Calajate,Paredes,Robles,Mailigalig,Cuison,Pizarro,Cabanlig,Balbas,Turingan,Durian,Tadiar etc.including us


    RIP to three names mentioned

  19. For those who think only innocent bystanders die in Basilan..

    The brother of my close friend a newly grad of the PMA was severely mutilated by the Abu Sayaff

    Then I hear from somewhere that the higher ups in the government create wars just for the sake of it!

    WHAT BS!!!!!!!

  20. When talking about putting your heart where your mouth is; or supporting with action what you believe, it might be necessary in the future to risk limb or life to effect changes. Writing blogs and leaving comments in good ones like this one is one thing but definitely not enough.

    I’m not talking about supporting this aborted putsch or coup d’etat. I’m talking about something that we don’t know now but is something that you really believe in (others might think differently, as always).

    When that time comes, are we willing to risk everything for country? I think that not a lot are. In recent demos some of our kabayans were mad because they can’t go to work, because they were stuck in traffic, because they wasted a lot of time, because etcetera! It shows little regard for others’ beliefs, but if the majority (maybe the younger generation) are united and willing to risk everything (a la french revolution), i think that is the time that whatever change we want will be effected!

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