6 Military Officers Relieved Due to New Destabilization Bid

Manila Bulletin, September 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

6 Military Officers Relieved Due to New Destabilization Bid


Byline: RIO ROSE RIBAYA

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said at least six junior military officers and enlisted men had been relieved from duty or reassigned for allegedly attempting to recruit soldiers in a fresh bid to topple the Arroyo administration.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said, "We have done some moves short of arresting them like re-assigning them or putting them on hold, and continuing surveillance on them."

Esperon did not identify the six soldiers or the units to which they had been assigned.

He said civilians and politicians may be involved in the alleged destabilization plot.

Philippine Marine Commandant Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said, "I believe these are the personalities, political personalities, who want change, and most likely they have supporters within the ranks of the Armed Forces." Dolorfino said.

Dolorfino said military commanders are constantly reminding troops to remain loyal to the Constitution and to the chain of command.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro declined to comment on possible security issues in the wake of the controversial national broadband network project with China's ZTE Corp.

Earlier, Esperon confirmed efforts to recruit military officers for a plot to destabilize government.

He said the recruitment is being pushed in secret meetings and through text messages with offers of monetary rewards to encourage soldiers to break away from the military chain of command.

However, he assured the public that despite these efforts, the AFP remains "solid."

He said the military has done much to ensure the welfare of soldiers, improve military procurement procedures, and pursue modernization.

"Too bad for them, our soldiers have been imbued with the idea that it is only through the chain of command that we should be performing our duties," Esperon said.

Talks of government destabilization plots surfaced after the Senate began investigating the controversial $329 million national broadband network deal with ZTE Corp. …

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