Amidst growing rumours of dissent within the armed forces, on account of the Mamasapano massacre, military public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc told reporters early this week that Philippine troops remain loyal to President Benigno Aquino.
“If there are officials who are trying to persuade us into joining coup attempts, we will not follow them. They are not part of our chain of command,” Cabunoc said.
“We have no valid reasons to remove our loyalty from the president of the republic,” he added.
President Aquino has faced outrage from nearly every sector of society over the botched Mamasapano operation, targeting terrorist bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman and Islamic militant terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
Marwan was killed in the heavy gun battle, but so were 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action forces. At least 4 civilians and 11 guerillas also perished in the clash. Poor coordination among top-ranking officials, a lack of communication, and an alleged breach in the chain of command have been cited as the reasons for the tragedy
Amidst public anger, some sectors have called for the impeachment of the President. Rumours of a military coup have likewise been circulating.
Philippine history is marked with several military coup attempts, including six during the first half of former President Corazon Aquino’s rule. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo likewise endured several coup attempts under her administration.