Noli de Castro: Coup talk a Palace spin to shield Aquino from probes
MANILA, Philippines – Broadcast journalist and former Vice President Noli de Castro laughed off rumors, on Tuesday, that he was part of a destabilization against the Aquino administration, saying those who were spreading it just wanted to divert the attention of the public from the so-called Mamasapano fiasco.
In an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer, De Castro denied any knowledge of the Movement for National Salvation calling for the resignation of all government officials and a shift to a new federal type of government.
De Castro stressed he was just performing his watchdog role as a mediaman when he strongly criticized President Aquino and his administration for mishandling “Oplan Exodus,” a police operation designed to neutralize two high-value targets last January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that resulted in the massacre of 44 Special Action Forces commandos because of lack of coordination with the military.
De Castro said those who were floating the coup plot idea merely wanted to save President Aquino from further criticisms because of the Mamasapano clash.
“Namatay na nga yung 44 SAF policemen, gusto pa nilang patayin ang Mamasapano issue. Gusto lang iyang pagtakpan ang Mamasapano issue sa pagdadawit ng pangalan ko sa coup (The 44 SAF policemen died. Now, they want to kill the Mamasapano issue, too. They want to cover up the Mamasapano issue by dragging my name in the alleged coup plot),” he said.
De Castro has said he would never get involved in any attempt at a coup d’ etat because of his obligation to preserve his objectivity as a broadcast journalist who is seen by people daily on television and listened to over the radio, and who needs to talk freely as a commentator.
“Ako’y hindi naniniwala sa coup dahil ang mga nagiging lider ng coup ay nagiging congressman, nagiging senador, nagiging politiko. Bakit ako pagagamit pa? Noong ako’y vice president, hindi ako sumama sa mga coup against GMA, ngayon pa ba (I don’t believe in coup d’ etat because those who led coups eventually become congressmen, senators, politicians. Why should I allow myself to be used. When I was vice president, I did not participate in any coup attempt against GMA [former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo], why would I do that now)?” he asked.
He said to effect change, the public should prod the President to do good for the country because people have been suffering.
His role, he said, has always been to broadcast the sentiments of the people.
De Castro said he interviewed former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales who was rumored to be the one instigating coup talks in the military and the police due to dissatisfaction over government’s handling of the Mamasapano operation.
But this, he said, did not mean he shared Gonzales’ views.
“Hindi mo naman puwedeng pagtakpan iyan. Hindi mo puwedeng patayin iyun sapagkat patay na yung apatnaput apat na SAF, papatayin mo pa ulit? Nakakatawa naman sila (You cannot cover up the issue. You cannot make it die down because it would be like killing the 44 SAF men again. It would be ridiculous for them to try that),” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.