Sunday, February 15, 2015

Miriam bares intel on brewing coup d’etat

By Camille Diola 
The Philippine Star
Miriam-Santiago-and-Voltaire-GazminMANILA, Philippines — Sen. Miriam Santiago on Thursday urged Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to have alleged plotters of a coup d’etat against President Benigno Aquino III arrested immediately.
Citing an intelligence report, Santiago said unnamed groups recently conducted a meeting to overthrow government leadership.
“I have intelligence as of yesterday that leaders of certain alphabet soup acronyms who are familiar with the public had a recent meeting, because they wanted to discuss how to stage a coup d’etat, who should be installed as president, and even their contributors were there,” Santiago said in the Senate inquiry on the Mamasapano massacre.
She said attempts to stage a coup can already be considered a crime under the penal code.
“All of those planners should be arrested immediately because like any other crime under the penal code, the crime of coup d’etat has three stages: Attempted, frustrated [and] consummated,” Santiago told Gazmin. “So arestuhin na sila dapat.”
Santiago claimed that the plot’s financier is publicly known as “a very rich man.”
She said that while Aquino is worthy of criticism, he should end his term within legal bounds.
“No matter how bitterly I criticize President Aquino, I am a lawyer and I still remain standing behind the rule of law,” she said. “If he should leave his office, let him leave at a proper time but not by extralegal means.”
Gazmin said he is aware of a takeover plot, but authorities are still verifying the reports.
Top military officials are also unlikely to support the coup, he said.
“As far as coup d’etat is concerned, it will entail the support of the military and we are very confident that the military will not be involved in this coup d’etat,” Gazmin said.
Reports of a planned coup erupted following the controversial police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that led to the killing of 44 commandos by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The involvement of the MILF is feared to mar the completion of government’s peace agreement with the group that will create a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

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