No coup against Philippine president, says armed forces chief

Manila – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured on Thursday that officers and men of the 125,000- strong military establishment will not stage a coup d’etat against Philippine President Benigno Aquino III who is facing a number of impeachment complaints.

AFP chief Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang said he can “guarantee” that no military personnel would join any “military adventurism” against Aquino.

Catapang also said he has been telling troops during his visits to military camps in the past few days to be non-partisan on the issue of the stimulus spending package also known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Two impeachment complaints filed against Aquino on Monday and Tuesday alleged that the Philippine president had violated the Constitution for implementing DAP.

The third impeachment complaint filed on Thursday also accused Aquino of “culpable violation of the Constitution” for entering into a military agreement, dubbed as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, with the United States.

Catapang said soldiers should not be distracted by opinions on the DAP issue and on the impeachment complaints lodged against Aquino. Instead, he said the troops should remain “focused on our mission.”

The AFP chief said it is “hard” to be involved in military adventurism. Catapang was part of the rightist group Reform the Armed Forces Movement which played a key role in ousting former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Source: Xinhua