Secretary Leila de Lima warned members of the National Transformation Council that they are opening themselves up for criminal prosecution for mounting activities she said could be considered as fomenting a coup.
De Lima belittled the group’s efforts, saying it was clinging to the “false hope” that what she described as its “long-standing strategic policy” of trying to foment a coup “without, however, accruing any criminal liability” would work.Her statement came the same day groups going by the name “EDSA 2/22 Coalition” gathered at the EDSA Shrine to call for the resignation of President Benigno Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and the setting up of a “transition government.”
They were joined at the EDSA Shrine by Peping and Ting-ting Cojuangco, Aquino’s uncle and aunt.The call for Aquino’s resignation and the formation of a transition government echoes that of the NTC, although former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, a member of the Council, has said what they are contemplating is another “People Power,” similar to the 1986 uprising that booted out the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and replaced him with Corazon Aquino, the incumbent president’s mothers, and not a coup.
Earlier, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused Gonzales of plotting a coup.
The coup rumors circulated in the wake of widespread dissatisfaction over the government’s handling of the January 25 Mamasapano incident and calls for Aquino to resign over allegations he and resigned Philippine National Police Alan Purisima, already suspended at the time, personally supervised the mission to get Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” who is said to have been killed but at the cost of 44 Special Action Force commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians.
While acknowledging that rumors of an impending coup, which have been making the rounds recently, “are not coup threats in the strict sense of the word,” De Lima said the forums and conferences organized by the NTC “can already be contemplated as conspiracies relating to sedition, rebellion or coup d’ etat.”
She also belittled the NTC as a “loose aggrupation” of former officials, politicians and clergy associated with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Despite his denials, De Lima accused Gonzale of “doublespeak,” pointing to what she said was the NTC’s public declarations “that a people power strategy for regime change can only be successful if backed by military support.”
She called the transition government the NTC envisions a “civilian-military junta, and the call for the military’s support for its defense and installation is nothing less than a proposal or conspiracy to commit the crime of coup d’etat.”
“The NTC’s pronouncements and publicly declared strategy for the capture of state power through active military support to the NTC are therefore acts which already constitute conspiracy or proposal to commit rebellion and coup d’ etat (Art.136 in relation to Arts. 134 and 134-A, Revised Penal Code), conspiracy to commit sedition (Art. 141 in relation to Art. 139, RPC) or, at the very least, inciting to sedition (Art. 142, RPC), as well as illegal assemblies (Art. 146, RPC),” De Lima said. Brian Maglungsod, InterAksyon.com
DUTERTE BACKS AQUINO VS. COUP, MILITARY JUNTA
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is not supporting calls for President Benigno Aquino to resign over the Mamasapano Massacre.
He is also against a military junta kicking the President out of Malacanang, as reports say a group is planning a coup d’etat over the President’s alleged role in a bungled operation against a Malaysian terrorist that led to the killing of 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.
I have pledged my loyalty to the President, said Duterte on in the late night Give Us This Day television program on Channel 43 of the Davao City-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ The Name Above Every Name of international televangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
Even as Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan was killed in the disastrous police operation, the death of the SAF commandos by Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in Central Mindanao had sparked a nationwide anger against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has entered into a peace agreement with the government, and the renegade Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and calls for Aquino to resign.
In wake of the January 25 bloodbath, Duterte had called on Aquino to take responsibility for the mass killing, the biggest single-day loss for the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the campaign against the Moro insurgency in southern Philippines.
Duterte, in the show hosted by Pastor Quiboloy, said there is no “culpable ground” under the Constitution for Aquino to resign even if he had a role in the bungled operation.
Duterte also said a military junta forcing Aquino out of office would be a throwback to past coups that led to political instability.
Marwan was a bomb expert linked to the MILF and BIFF, the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and the al-Qaeda-linked Indonesia terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.