Wednesday, July 5, 2006

A Military Full of Angie Reyes-Wannabes?

ABSCBN News is on a roll with its "exclusive" airing of a dramatic video that has suddenly and mysteriously surfaced from "trusted sources" showing accused coup plotter, Scout Ranger and West Pointer General Danilo Lim "withdrawing support" for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo sometime last February just before a State of National Emergency was declared. But from the moment the clip started to air last Monday (during the debut of Bandila and the return of the betrothed Korina Sanchez Roxas to Big Time TV News), it was clear this was just the tip of the iceberg. As many as sixty other ranking military officers are said to be under investigation . Overnight the big development is General Generoso Senga's pregnant characterization of the leaked video and report on last February's incidents as "unofficial."
ABSCBN News: "The Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Lim and his accomplices planned to use anti-Arroyo rallies in February as their starting point to launch the rebellion. The plan, however, was not realized after Lim and Marine Col. Ariel Querubin went to Senga to convince him to join the rebellion. Senga replied by restricting both Lim and Querubin to their respective barracks. The AFP chief then released a statement saying he has not joined any attempt to unseat the President.
SO DID SENGA GET COLD FEET? This is the part of the story line from last February that puzzled many people from the beginning. An alleged coup d'etat, led by a bemedalled combat veteran, graduate of West Point and PMA and commander of the elite Scout Ranger Batallion of the Philippine Army, fails when he "fails to convince the Chief of Staff General Generoso Senga to join them" and he is instead confined to quarters. Now the clear suggestion is being made by the ABSCBN news network, that perhaps Gen. Senga was himself involved in the matter. In fact we know that higher ranking officers than Col. Ariel Querubin and General Danilo Lim were caught up in something that the public has not yet been fully informed of. The ever intriguing General Renato Miranda, relieved Marine Commandant even offered to suffer all the consequences for his men, under the principle of "The Buck Stops Here." (Big of him, but as I recall, "the Buck" doesn't stop with the Marine Commmandant but somewhat higher up!). General Fortunato Abat (no stranger to successful as well as wacky coup d'etat plots) kept repeating on tv last night "When you start something, you should finish it!" -- an obvious reference to whoever backed out and got cold feet.

GRINGO DESAPARECIDO: Commodore Rex Robles of the Feliciano Commission that investigated the Oakwood Mutiny was plainly disdainful of the Administration's narrative skills. He wonders what the connection may be to Gringo Honasan/Operation Hackle/the Leftist Rightist coup conspiracy and all of that.

DAVIDE'S LEGACY:PDI Editorial Fallen Stars opines:
After all the noise and alarms of last February, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has treaded gingerly around Lim, and handled those accused of rebellion with kid gloves. The release of this video, in a sense, forces the military’s hands. The AFP will not like this. It reminds the public that first and foremost, it takes care of its own. At the same time, it must deal with two images, neither of which inspires confidence: of generals allegedly conspiring to commit election fraud, and other generals allegedly conspiring to mount a coup and scrap the Constitution.
Perhaps its the Chicken of Edsa Dos come to roost, perhaps it's the legacy of the Davide Supreme Court, with its Regime-changing Putsch of 20 January 2001, and Constitution-scrapping Decisions of March and April. The everlasting benediction and canonization of then Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes, despite his own self-described rebellious mutiny in "withdrawing support" for the Presidency of Joseph Estrada on 19 January 2001 is the jurisprudential poison that is Davide's legacy. What lotsa people fail to see is that the so-called Erap Decisions aren't really about "Erap" (since he was already moot and academic after Edsa 2). The Erap Decisions were about shielding the Supreme Court itself from blame because of its regime changing acts of political partisanship and collusion with GMA during Edsa 2.

I have always maintained, and I think history will bear remember it like this (TIME magazine does) that it was both necessary and sufficient for the purpose of overthrowing Joseph Estrada that the Philippine Military in the person of Angie Reyes "withdraw support" for the President so that the Supreme Court could deliver the coup d'grace by swearing in the Constitutional successor IF Erap had been convicted at impeachment trial.

That is why the Supreme Court had to find nothing wrong with Angie Reyes' essential act of rebellion in withdrawing support in the Erap DECISIONS, because it would have had to find fault with its own ACTS of completing what should more accurately be described as a "judicial-military" coup d'etat, with People Power serving as the prop for the ascension to power of the current potentates.

Yes! What the Supreme Court says it means is what the Constitution means. And every day we hear it repeated by nutmegs like Butch Pichay: that a coup d'etat is okay as long as it succeeds.This deep and dangerous fallacy is self-serving, but it has indeed been vouchsafed by the Supreme Court and is tauntingly bandied about by both anti and pro GMA forces.

Well Danilo Lim heard y'all loud and clear! And all other soldiers that will come after him, who take their oaths of fealty to heart and may only want to follow the example we all exalt in General, err, Secretary cubed, Angelo Reyes.

Things are that absurd!

But here is some solid advice from Angie Reyes himself, on how to do a coup and succeed without really trying, (Interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb. 13, 2001, (also in Amando Doronila's book The Fall of Joseph Estrada: The Inside Story, Anvil Publishing, Manila, 2001):
ANGIE REYES:"We know that if we withdraw support, that's it, finished. Because without the AFP, without its support , that's the end...But one problem there is how do you call a press conference then announce that you are withdrawing support from government. You don't do that! When you do this thing, you do it swiftly, quickly, so there is no chance for failure!"
Now that's a Master speaking. That's how you make SUCCESSFUL coup d'etats!


Jego said...

I caught the tail end of the Abat interview on TV. He said the full force of the law should be brought to bear on General Lim for this coup attempt. From what I gather, he believes the book should be thrown at Lim because he failed. "When you start something, you should finish it." Since he didnt 'finish it'; since he didnt succeed, he deserves to be punished, echoing the 'it's ok if you succeed' precedent handed down by the Supreme Court in the EDSA 2 coup d'etat.

Rizalist said...

But who was he actually referring to? Lim? Gringo? Senga? Do you think it was possible some people got cold feet? It somehow it doesn't wash that it failed coz Senga refused to go along. Shouldn't they have known that long b4 one day before?

Jego said...

He couldnt have been referring to Senga; the last minute effort to recruit him to the cause meant that they probably werent too confident of their success. Im speculating, but maybe it failed because they couldnt get enough generals, which necessitated that they try for Senga at the last minute.

I also remember Abat saying something about their leaders not being there with them, and when Ces Drilon asked if he was referring to Gringo, he side-stepped the question.

But really, the GMA administration outmaneuvered them on this one. Gloria's people were clearly being fed information from inside the camp of the plotters and so were one step ahead of them the whole time. The 'state of emergency' declaration made sure that their plans for a coup would be disrupted.

Jon Mariano said...

What Senga said about the tape's being unofficial is hilarious! What will make it official, the end of the military's investigation?

The smoking gun is there! It is proof that there was a planned coup. Maybe Senga was really part of it but backed out at the last minute. But then again, he outranked Gen. Lim (?) why was it not him speaking on the video?

Major Tom said...

Official or not, that damn tape is one hell of an evidence that cannot be denied even by the most ludicrous of alibi. Maybe General Lim could aver that he and some boys were just doing a home movie for YourTube and it was merely for fun's sake. But that's hardly believable...

ricelander said...

He could do something ala Mike Defensor "that's me and my voice on the video but that was not what I said. They made me move my mouth and put words I did not say". Hehehe.


Hi Dean,

Would love to make a comment on this coup d'état attempt, foiled, quashed whatever but as you have aptly illustrated what a successful coup d'état is, I won't venture for now but will comment later when the World Cup fever has subsided.

Btw, Angie Reyes is right: element of swiftness is half the success; oh, before I forget, I insist that technically there was no coup d'état attempt even with that tape in cicrulation; there might be a conspiracy to COMMIT MUTINY but not a coup d'état (Oakwood was a coup d'état attempt coz the rebel troops moved...)...

OK, I got to stop there coz I've got my World Cup blog to finish (and am in the middle of my holiday - shish!)...

Cheers and see ya soon.