What coup plot? AFP is clueless
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday gave assurance that it was not aware of any plot to oust President Benigno Aquino III within and without the military.
“In an ouster plot, usually the suspect is the Armed Forces. As far as the AFP is concerned, we have not monitored reports of an ouster plot brewing in the military organization. Our chain of command remains strong,” military spokesperson Colonel Arnulfo Burgos Jr. told reporters.
Asked if they were aware of an ouster plot from the civilian side, he replied: “We have no information on that. I don’t know.”
At the anniversary celebration of the Presidential Security Group on Thursday, President Aquino said there were forces out to oust him due to his administration’s drive against corruption.
“But there are those who want a return to the old system where they would earn lots of money. And because they know I won’t allow this, they want me out of the scene so that no one would pursue them,” Mr. Aquino had said.
But on Friday, in Calapan City, Mr. Aquino said the threats against the government had been declining since he took over as the country’s Chief Executive some 18 months ago.
“I was told that they have decreased. That’s the truth,” he told reporters. “Even those, who want to stage rallies, have reportedly decreased. This was what I was told yesterday.”
The President attributed the decrease in threats to the improved economy and the expansion of government services.
“We believe there is really a period of gestation. For instance, in the economy, we expected that some difference would happen in two years,” he said. “When you look at the stock market index and the confidence, there really is already a huge difference.” he added.
He was apparently referring to Thursday’s report that for the first time in history, intraday trade at the Philippine Stock Exchange breached the 5,000 mark.
He also announced that 22 percent of the total output of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority “would come in our 18 months.”
President Aquino also mentioned his administration’s program to provide decent housing for informal settlers, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s promise of rice self-sufficiency by 2013 and universal health care for Filipinos.
He said that in about 15 months more than 50,000 houses will be available to those in the uniformed services “in addition to those for the informal settler sector.”
“More and more Filipinos are experiencing (the changes). So in my view, while we are reaping the benefits of a democracy that is really serving our countrymen, the support will be stronger for us in the straight path,” President Aquino said.
The Department of National Defense did not directly comment on the alleged ouster plot.
“Reported threat or no threat, the defense department, the AFP and other related agencies of government are always in a state of readiness and continue improving our capabilities to address any and all threats to the President, his family and the nation as a whole,” Defense spokesperson Dr. Paul Galvez said in a text message to reporters.