No reason to oust Aquino, says AFP chief

AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr.

MANILA – Newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said there was no intelligence report of any destabilization plot against the Aquino administration, saying the military’s morale now is “high.”

“There’s no intelligence on that,” Catapang told reporters after attending a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

“Wala naman pong rason dahil maayos naman po ang pamamalakad ng ating mahal ng Pangulo. Sobrang suportado po kami sa modernization program namin (There’s no reason because our beloved President is running the country well, he is very much supportive of our modernization program),” he said.

Colonel Ramon Zagala, Public Information Chief of the AFP also denied that there are coup plots against Aquino.

“We remain partisan-free and professional,” Zagala said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

Asked about Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV’s reported statements that retired generals close to former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were allegedly plotting to oust Aquino, Catapang stressed:“Wala po iyan, wala po kaming report na ganoon (That’s nothing. We have no report on that).”

“Mataas po ang morale ng mga sundalo natin kasi lalo nga po na highlight doon sa Sona (State of the Nation Address) noong ating mahal na Pangulo na ipinakita iyong mga naitulong niya sa Armed Forces (The morale of our soldiers is high especially when the President highlighted in his Sona what he has done to the armed forces),” he said.

When asked about possible coup threat from retired and inactive members of the military, Zagala said they have not monitored any activity of its possibility among them.

But he said, retired and inactive members of the military are now civilians and have regained their freedom of expression and assembly.

“They have already regained their freedom of expression and it is not the policy of the AFP to curtail anybody’s right,” he said.

“We will not curtail their rights,” he added.

He mentioned that there are some who are “disgruntled” but was quick to say that it is “just a mere expression” and would not transform into a possible coup threat.

Catapang, meanwhile, said there was no need to conduct a loyalty check since the soldiers remain loyal to their Commander-in-Chief.