By ALFRED GABOT, Editor in Chief
and BETING L. DOLOR, Manila Editor
CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. has exposed an alleged plot by retired generals and military officers to destabilize and unseat President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. but immediately denied there was such a plot while admitting grumblings by some retired military officers.
In a turnabout, Brawner said he only heard rumors about alleged destabilization efforts, but acknowledged that some retired military officers might be disgruntled because of “various” issues, including changes to the pension system of military and other uniformed personnel.
Earlier, Brawner, as reported by ABS-CBN and other media, urged soldiers during the Western Mindanao Command change of command program between Wesmincom chief, Maj. Gen. Steve Crespillo, and AFP Inspector General, Lt. Gen. William Gonzales not to entertain the “infiltration that is happening in the country, including Zamboanga City and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” for destabilization efforts against the government.
In the report, Brawner said active members of the AFP should not pay attention to the group but instead focus their efforts in the fulfillment of the AFP’s transformation roadmap.
Later, Brawner clarified his statement. “I did not mention about destabilization plot. Kasi pag sinabi nating plot, parang plano na ito na i-eexecute na lang. Ang sinabi ko during my statement was that may mga naririnig tayo na mga ugong-ugong ng mga destabilization efforts,”
At the same time, he reminded active troops to follow their oath to protect the people and uphold the Constitution.
Formed AFP Chief of Staff now National Security Adviser Eduardo Año also said there is no destabilization plot against the President but confirmed that some former troops are displeased with some of the Marcos administration’s policies.
“There is no truth that there are active plans to unseat the president,” Ano stressed in a statement.
“There were healthy and passionate exchanges/debates among some retired or former military officers and even some criticism against certain policies of the current administration, but they are within the bounds of our democratic space. Although oftenly [sic] abused, they are part of the freedom of expression where most are academic discussions or politically motivated,” Ano added.
Ano said the AFP and the rest of the security sector are loyal to President Marcos, who is the AFP commander-in-chief ,and will not be influenced to join any destabilization plot against the government.
AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar assured the public there are no attempts to overthrow the administration of President Marcos and that AFP chief of staff Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. was merely misquoted in the media when speaking about destabilization plots.
“Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., the Chief of Staff, AFP, was simply misquoted. In his message to the troops during the change of command ceremony of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) yesterday, Nov. 3, 2023, he merely mentioned the reported efforts by certain individuals to upset the peace and stability that the country is enjoying right now under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,” Aguilar said in a statement.
In that ceremony, Brawner presided over the change of command between Wesmincom chief, Maj. Gen. Steve Crespillo, and AFP Inspector General, Lt. Gen. William Gonzales.
Aguilar said Brawner merely reminded all AFP personnel to remain professional and loyal to their oath to protect the people and the state.
Aguilar said there is no credible threat, when asked if there is an active plan to overthrow the government through violent means.
“Wala kaming nakikitang ganun (we see no such thing),” he said.
The AFP, Aguilar said, sees no such threat at this time or even in the near future.
“I think that has been settled, kumbaga sa kwan, tapos na yung kwento na yun. Wala kaming nakikitang threat, so just to assure the public that we see no threat, security threat at this time or even in the near future,” he told defense reporters.
Retired officers may be
planning a coup, says
AFP chief of staff
By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor
MANILA – Retired officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), disgruntled with the current Marcos regime, are seriously considering mounting a mass action not onlike the two Edsa revolts that saw the unseating of two presidents.
The warning came from no less than Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr.
Brawner reported the unrest in the military to local media over the weekend during the change of command ceremony of the Western Mindanao Command.
In his address, the AFP chief said he had been hearing a lot of calls for the destabilization of the Marcos regime.
Speaking in the vernacular, Brawner said “many” were calling to change the President “because of many reasons.”
He added that “some are saying there will be a coup d’etat again.”
Without naming names, Brawner continued in a mix of English and Tagalog that “some if them were former officers of the AFP.” He said he had spoken to some of them, and he said: “Sir, you have the right to do that because we are in a democracy, but please do not involve the active personnel” of the AFP.
Brawner added that the unnamed retired officers had been encouraging individual members of the AFP to join the movement, but that he had called on the officers and enlisted personnel not to entertain such calls.
After his blockbuster revelation, Brawner appeared to have regretted his words.
AFP spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar said Brawner may have been “misquoted,” while the AFP chief himself tried to backtrack by saying that while there may be destabilization “efforts,” there were no “destabilization plots.”
At the start of this week, he sought to put an end to the spreading news by stating that everyone should just stop talking about it.
The news spread like wildfire over the weekend when Brawner also said that the supposed movement began last September 21, the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the president’s father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Soldiers were supposedly being called to join rallies.
One retired general and former Cabinet secretary said he felt alluded to because he is part of the September 21 Reform Movement.
Former Information and Communications Technology secretary Eliseo Rio denied that his group had been floating destabilization rumors.
Rio is also part of the TNTrio group which has been trying to prove that the last presidential elections were not valid, and that Ferdinand Marcos Jr could not have won fair and square.
Whoever was behind the destabilization plot against Marcos, however, Rio said, “Hindi kami ‘yon (It’s not us.)”
“I am warning my soldiers not to join any of these movements,” Brawner said, “because those times are over.”
He then warned that he would act “swiftly and judiciously” against active AFP personnel found to be involved in any destabilization activity.
Aguilar sought to further diffuse the situation by saying the AFP chief “merely mentioned the reported efforts by certain individuals to upset the peace and stability that the country is now enjoying.”
Marcos Jr’s father was famously removed by a civilian-backed military coup or uprising now known as the People Power Revolution in February of 1986. The entire Marcos family was forced into exile, and their patriarch died in Hawaii in September, 1989.