Active and retired police and military officials on Wednesday brushed aside rumors about a coup d’etat, saying the supposed power grab was just a “scenario” that Malacañang came up with in an attempt to divert the issue on the slaughter of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.
Interviewed by The Manila Times, the former officials said while there is growing discontent with the way the Aquino administration handled an anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that left dead the commandos from the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the supposed government takeover was never discussed within their ranks.
Meanwhile, military commanders all over the country have reportedly been ordered to arrest on sight personalities or anti-government forces who will try to persuade any officer to join any plot to destabilize the government.
Also part of the diversionary tactics, according to the active and retired police and military officials, was disinformation campaign conducted through text messages that circulated Tuesday night, warning the people about a plan of Muslim rebels and terrorists to bomb public places and installations such as malls.
The text messages said the alleged bombing operations would be carried out in the Metro Manila cities of Makati, Pasig, Quezon and Taguig.
According to the messages, the suspects are hiding in Maharlika Village in Taguig.
“These [text messages]were part of the grand design orchestrated by the Palace,” an active police official said.
Tarlac Gov. Margarita Cojuangco, an aunt of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, told a radio station on Monday that Malacañang was behind the alleged coup plot, describing it as a “Malacañang spin.”
Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said he had ordered his men to arrest on sight anyone who will incite any officer to join any planned takeover.
He, however, noted that no one has attempted to recruit any officer under his command.
Visaya said the Solcom remains solid and will not take part in any destabilization move using the Mamasapano incident as the sole reason.