PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ARMED Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is confident that no soldier will join destabilization moves against the government, saying the military is 100 percent behind the administration of President Arroyo.
“I think our soldiers are very professional and would just do what is expected of them,” said Esperon.
The military has 120,000 officers and men, 80,000 of whom are with the Army.
The Arroyo government survived two major destabilization moves, including the short-lived Oakwood mutiny in July 2003 where more than 300 junior officers and enlisted men protested massive corruption in government.
In February last year, then Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and then Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda planned to lead their men to Edsa Shrine and withdraw their support from Arroyo over the question of her legitimacy. Lim even called Arroyo a “bogus” president.
Earlier reports said some groups are plotting destabilization moves against the government in time for the promulgation of the plunder case against President Joseph Estrada.
Asked if there are clear indications of upcoming destabilization moves, Esperon said: “We are trying to monitor as closely as we can. Definitely, one of the things that we will do here is to go hard on people who may want to participate in such destabilization moves especially from our ranks.”
Esperon said the military cannot allow the government to be destabilized.
National security adviser Norberto Gonzales said he will look into allegations that Sen. Panfilo Lacson promised to provide Magdalo soldiers with 2,000 troops to support a coup attempt against Arroyo.
“Masyadong madaming conspiracy theory sa Pilipinas. What’s important now is we reduce this to certain aspects where we can act. If there are some violations of the law then we will proceed with that. Otherwise, we have so many of these stories,” he said in a press conference in Malacañang.
Reports quoting the affidavits of 1Lts. Nathaniel Rabonza and Angelbert Gay said Lacson, who used the alias “Robert,” met with the Magdalo soldiers during the third week of May 2006 in a house in La Vista, Quezon City.
“Senator Lacson said he had 2,000 troops before Feb. 24, 2006, but due to their (troops) dismay (at) Brig. Gen. (Danilo) Lim’s action, the number (was) reduced to 500 to 700,” Rabonza said in the affidavit he submitted to Makati Judge Oscar Pimentel.