Senators who have been involved in
coup attempts have debunked speculation
that a plea bargain with a former general accused
of plunder will cause military unrest.
At a press forum at the Senate, Senate President
Juan Ponce Enrile said soldiers will not launch
a coup impulsively.
Enrile, who turned against then
President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986,
said soldiers would rise up over injustice within the armed forces.
But in the case of Major General Carlos Garcia,
the matter is already with the courts, he explained.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, out on temporary
liberty over uprisings in 2003 and 2007, meanwhile
said a coup “is quite farfetched at the moment.”
Saying he knew what motivates soldiers to interfere
in political issues, Trillanes said the Garcia
plea bargain is an isolated case that will not
affect morale in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Senator Gregorio Honasan II, a central figure in coups
in the 1980s, said the Garcia case would be best left to the courts.
Honasan explained that nobody knows the details
of the deal that allowed Garcia to plead guilty
to bribery and money laundering charges
instead of plunder.
He hinted that Garcia may have cut a deal to implicate
others involved in around P303 million that he allegedly
amassed illegally. Honasan clarified, though, that that
is just a possibility.
Honasan added that the Garcia case is unlikely to
cause unrest in the military. He said an unfair
military justice system and corruption within
the AFP are bigger problems.
Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon, a former senator and armed forces chief, earlier said the plea bargain with Garcia seemed to justify the Magdalo mutinies.
He added that he had heard rumblings in the military over the deal.
In response, General Jose Mabanta, military spokesman, said morale in the AFP is very high especially after the combat pay for soldiers was raised.
He added that the AFP has seen a lot of reforms
since the Magdalo soldiers took over the Oakwood
hotel in Makati in 2003.
Mabanta shared that the office of the comptroller,
the post that Garcia allegedly abused, has been
split into different offices. He said the new
system allows the AFP to check its spending.
Sometimes the paper I work for doesn’t use my stories
as submitted, probably for cause. I’ll post them here,