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Military exec quashes talks of coup plot vs Aquino

President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO

President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The commanding general of the Philippine Army has debunked rumors of a possible coup – allegedly fueled by discontent over the Mamasapano incident.

Maj. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, who was a guest during the 45th anniversary of the 4th Infantry Division here on Thursday, said the military remains loyal to the Aquino administration.

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Earlier, retired general Ramon Montaño, former chief of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police (PC-INP), had said the discontent and unrest could fuel destabilization.

But Iriberri categorically trashed the idea, saying there was no such thing as a coup plan or even attempt to stage one.

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“The military is fully behind the Aquino government and the people,” he told reporters.

Iriberri said despite the Mamasapano incident – which eventually put Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at the receiving end of the blame – the military is fully committed to peace and the peace process with the MILF.

“We put primacy in peace and we have invested so much in peace,” he said.

“We should just wait for the findings of the investigation of the Board of Inquiry on the Mamamsapano incident,” Iriberri said.

The Makabayan bloc, in a media statement, said President Benigno Aquino III “must not wait for another transgression or another disaster to happen” and should immediately resign.

The statement was signed, among others, by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate; and Gabriela Women’s Representatives Luz Ilagan.

“Give the nation a break, a chance for renewal, Aquino, resign!” the statement reads.

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Makabayan said the Mamasapano fiasco was only among reasons they joined the call for Aquino’s resignation.

“The President must resign to save our nation from further disasters, moral bankruptcy, and massive poverty,” said the Makabayan statement. “President Aquino is unfit to rule and has betrayed public trust, as evident in the bloody Mamasapano fiasco and the unconstitutional DAP as affirmed by the most recent Supreme Court decision.”

The group said President Aquino has lost his “moral ascendancy and legitimacy to govern” when he lied to the people on his responsibility and accountability in the botched police operation that led to the deaths of 44 police, 18 Moro fighters and eight civilians.

Makabayan’s move followed the calls issued by the Church-based National Transformation Council (NTC) the previous week, when Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, among others, also called for Aquino to step down.

In Davao city, a rally participated by priests, students from leading universities in Davao, soldiers from the 10th ID, and militant groups also echoed calls for peace and for President Aquino to explain what happened in Mamasapano Maguindanao.

“For peace and for justice this afternoon, we have walked together in silence and prayer,” Ateneo De Davao University President, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ said during the interfaith prayer – which followed the silent march dubbed as “Kalilintad sa Mamasapano: A Walk for Peace, To Call for Peace.”

Tabora said emotions have run high in the wake of the Mamasapano incident, “fueling incendiary statements of anger and hatred, awakening old prejudices and stereotyping we thought had long been dead – even calls for all-out war.”

“Indeed it is easy to hate what we do not understand, but we must also remember that before the fallen 44, there were thousands of fallen souls who perished in this long and overdue battle,” she said explaining that the tragedy in Mamasapano and the events thereafter have exposed the polarization of this country as a nation, from policy makers to the “common tao (people).” “What has grown apparent is the growing hatred and division among the Filipino people,” Faizah Tejero of the Ateneo Law Student Advocates for Bangsamoro Rights (Al Sabar), said.

Tabora rallied the crowd to continue praying for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is now in the hands of Congress, emphasizing that this law “shall allow us to leave our ways of violence and war, to beat swords into ploughs and to transform factories of death and destruction into factories of life.”

On Tuesday, a similar rally was also staged by various civil society organizations in Manila on Wednesday – during which, they also urged the government to continue the peace process “with even more fervor.”

“The deaths of the victims would become meaningless if we, as a nation, will bury in their graves, the peace process,” Egoy Bans, spokesperson of the Friends of the Bangsamoro, said.

“Everyone is tired of war, not just the peoples of Mindanao but the whole country,” Liza Ugay of the Mindanao Solidarity Network agreed.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, carnage, clash, Coup, Coup d'état, Fallen 44, Hernando Iriberri, Maguindanao, Makabayan block, Mamasapano, peace walk, SAF, SAF 44, Special Action Force
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