“Uneasy are the shoulders that bear four stars.”
This is a not-too-cryptic line shared with me by a senior journalist covering Camps Aguinaldo and Crame and two military officers when I sought to reconfirm the incessant reports about Oplan August Moon.
“The rivalry between the generals from PMA Classes ’76 and ’78 is fueling the rumors even as military intelligence investors have separately obtained leads indicating the possible involvement of the political opposition in the plot,” my sources told me.
(L-R: IBRADO, BANGIT, VERSOZA, ROSALES)
“They are trying not to be drawn into it but Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado and Director-General Jesus Versoza, AFP Chief of Staff and PNP chief respectively, cannot prevent their mistahs from talking.“
The two military officers said, "there’s no question about their loyalty to the Flag," but the two other generals “waiting in the wings” are becoming the focus of intrigue because they are next in line to Generals Ibrado and Versoza.
The two being referred to are military intelligence chief Delfin Bangit and national capital region commander Roberto Rosales.
Director Rosales, who is president of PMA Class ’78, is widely respected in the police corps ,“while Director-General Versoza “has seen his slate affected by the recent ‘Euro generals scandal and question about his management skills.”
“In the case of Bangit, intrigue heightened when Malacanang itself announced he was the successor of recently retired CoS Jose Yano only for the announcement to be cancelled without explanation,” my two sources noted.”
That was then followed by the promotion of Gen. Ibrado as chief of staff with Yano being named ambassador to Brunei,
“The military brass, of course, respect the prerogative of their Commander in Chief (Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) to “change her mind and undertake deep selection,” my sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The bigger revelation my journalist source shared is this: a top-ranking general told me "intelligence probers are closely examining a document referring to important event/s which may take place between August and October.”
The document allegedly "makes reference to former President Joseph Estrada’s political group Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino."
My source would not go further when asked if Mr. Estrada himself could be implicated to the so-called ‘Oplan August Moon’ except to say “we don’t know if there is an actually military-format Operation Plan except what has been referred to verbally in the Camps.”
(This writer is trying to get the side of Mr. Estrada.)
"The improvised bombs recently used or left at the Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Ombudsman and privately-owned condominium Burgundy One Place appears to be the work of amateurs and not ordnance experts."
Note: C-4 is a high quality, very high velocity military plastic explosive.
C4 is supplied in bulk drums, in a slightly powdery form. Upon manipulation the material immediately consolidates into a rubbery fully plasticised mass which may be kneaded and pressed into any shape. The material has excellent mechanical and adhesive properties, and may be stretched into long strands without breakage.
In its original powdery form the explosive may be poured into charge containers, then pressed into intimate contact with the liner.
“We believe the C-4 explosives were not sourced from anywhere in Metro Manila but could only have come from Mindanao,” my sources revealed.
Speaking separately to journalists yesterday, Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a former chief of staff and seasoned field commander in Mindanao, said his doubts about the possible involvement of national security adviser Norberto Gonzales.
The online report of ABS-CBN News says in part:
Sen. Rodolfo Biazon on Thursday assailed National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales for contributing to the climate of instability by downplaying bomb-related incidents in Metro Manila this week.
“I’m not talking about specifics, whether administration or opposition. But to hear the national security adviser say about the need for a revolution, the putting up of a junta, the putting up of a transition government is fuelling all of these speculative conclusions,” Biazon said in a radio dzMM interview.
The senator added he could not believe Gonzales’s cold reaction to the bombing of the Office of the Ombudsman and the attempted bombing of the Department of Agriculture offices in Quezon City.
Gonzales and the military had said that the bombing attempts are part of a trend that usually happens before the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The statements were made in reaction to allegations that some people in the administration are creating a scenario that may be used to justify the declaration of emergency rule.
Biazon alleged that the real root cause of the destabilization scenarios is none other than Gonzales.
The senator said Gonzales has been advocating a revolution and the establishment of a junta to be led by President Arroyo.
He recalled that Gonzales raised this during a seminar conducted by the Center for Strategic Studies in Davao City in 2006 for junior military officers.
“Three years ago, Gonzalez conducted a seminar in military camps, and he said there is a need for a revolution, from liberal democracy to social democracy,” Biazon said.
He said the junior officers in the seminar were told that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as the only sector with “the power of the gun,” can carry out such revolution.
The events of the coming days or weeks can either heighten the apprehensions or ease public disquiet.