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‘No coup plot’–AFP, Army, Marines chiefs

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PNP admits Fortun affidavit only evidence

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 11:48:00 07/04/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The chiefs of the Armed Forces, the Army and the Marines on Friday dismissed the existence of a coup plot and said even if there was one, it would not be serious enough to even worry about.

This developed as Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome admitted that the sworn statement of lawyer Raymond Fortun was the police’s only evidence of the alleged power grab plan so far.

“I am reiterating, wala [there is none],” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Alexander Yano said of the alleged coup plot.

“Even if there is such a thing as a plan to conduct a coup…let us look at the capability and seriousness of the threat, which we feel is nothing to be worried about,” Yano told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Army chief Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado and Marines commandant Major General Ben Dolorfino also dismissed the supposed plot, allegedly involving their men, saying the retired and active military and police officers allegedly involved have no influence on the ranks.

“They don’t have a following. As of now, I haven’t gathered any reports [of a coup plot],” Ibrado said. “Right now I am confident that they cannot get support from our personnel in the Army.”

Dolorfino said his troops have learned the lessons from past coup attempts, when soldiers were “used”” by interest groups.

“After seeing what happened in the past, it’s very obvious that they are being used,” Dolorfino said in a separate interview.

Police have filed charges of proposal to commit coup d’etat against human rights lawyer Homobono Adaza, Army Lieutenant Colonel Oscarlito Mapalo, who is absent without leave, retired Marine Colonel Cesar dela Peña, retired Army Colonel Ernie Amboy, and police Superintendent Rafael Cardeño.

The five were arrested at a Pasig City mall on Wednesday, after Fortun told police that they were plotting a coup.

In his sworn statement before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Fortun said Adaza’s group offered to stage a coup so Fortun’s Japanese businessman-client could get rid of his Filipino partners.

Adaza and the arrested officers allegedly asked for $4 million, or some P160 million, to bankroll the power grab.

“So far, yun lang muna ang ginagamit ng investigators [That’s what investigators are using for the meantime],” Bartolome told a news conference in Camp Crame, when asked if police have other evidence of the alleged plot aside from the Fortun statement.

But Bartolome added: “This is not the end of the investigation. The investigation has just started.”

The police spokesman noted that there was a “mention of a proposal to commit a coup” in the affidavit.

But asked if the police have monitored coup threats, aside from Fortun’s claim, Bartolome said: “So far, wala pa naman [there’s none].”

But he also rejected observations that the retired and inactive officers were incapable of launching a coup.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-07-04T07:11:57+00:00UTC07bUTCFri, 04 Jul 2008 07:11:57 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

Posted in Uncategorized

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